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I. Norfolk before the Normans - - i 

I. THE aborigines - - - . i 


' INGHAM ' AND ' INGTON ' ? • - 1 1 

IV. THE ROMANS - - - - - 14 

V. THE SAXONS - - - - l8 

VI. THE PIRATE DANES - - - ■ ^9 

II. The Norman Conquest - - - -23 

I. the chief grantees and how they 

cied out - - - - - 23 

II. existing norman names - - - 27 

III. fictitious NORMAN PEDIGREES - - 28 

III. Results of the Conquest - - - 33 

I. CASTLE building - - - "33 



IV. Persecutions and Risings - - - 46 
V. The Norfolk of Elizabeth - - - 70 

VI. Norfolk's Part in the ' Eastern Association ■ 85 

VII. Our Later History - - - - 94 


vili Contents. 


VIII. The Old Peasant Lite- - - - io6 

IX. The Gentler Life - - - - 122 

X. The Town Life - - 144 

XI. The Monks and the Friars - - - 164 

°XI. The Parsons and their Churches - - 180 

XII. The Towns - - - - - 205 

XIII. The Watering Places and Coast Line - 242 

XIV. The Broads and Marshes - - - 256 
XV. The Superstitions, Folk-Lore and Dialect 2S7 





N attempting to write truthfully of the earlier 

known history of Norfolk, little indeed can 

be said of the Aborigines. They are of 

course supposed to have come to England 

while it was yet a peninsula, and to have roamed 

about half-naked, subsisting on such animals as they 

could kill with flint-headed arrows and celts. 

Whether they lived in hollows of the ground, such 
as Grimes Graves, the Weybourne Pits,* and the 
Shrieking Pits at Aylmerton, is very doubtful.t 
Canon Greenwell has demonstrated in ' Norf. Arch,,' 
vii., p. 359, that Grimes Graves, at all events, were 
only flint works ; and, indeed, it can hardly be seriously 

* For a paper on them by H. Hariod, see ' N. A.,' vol. iii., 
p. 232. 

t For alleged Lake dwellings on Wretham Mere, see A. 
Newton's ' Zoology of Ancient Europe.* 

2 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

argued that any race of men, however primitive, would 
deliberately huddle down in holes which would collect 
all the drainage, and be most inconvenient for cook- 
ing, and be literally death-traps if attacked by an 
enenr.y. Again, the difficulty which would be ex- 
perienced by men who had (lint instruments only, in 
felling timber sufficiently large to roof-in pits measur- 
ing forty feet across, would seem insuperable,* and 
the facts that no cemetery and no quantity of animal 
bones have been found in the neighbourhood are all 
against the idea. 

Probably these people were called Iccni ; at least 
we must trust Ptolemy for the assertion, but what line 
of demarcation, if any, there was between them and 
the Cenimagni of Suffolk no one can say. 

Of the Druids, and whether they ever existed here 
or at all, we know as little. Possibly, some of the 
bunds, or banks, and trackways, faintly traceable here 
and there, were the works of these Iceni or ' Ceni- 
magni ;' but there is no proof whatever of this. All 
is really a blank. Of cromlechs, and suchlike, we 
have none : there are celts and hatchets, pottery and 
beads, and that is all.f 

It has been conjectured that a few place-names, such 
as Lynn (' a lake '), and Brandon, and some river- 
names, as VVensum and Yare, are aboriginal, and as 
far as regards the rivers this may be so ; though why 
the Yare should come from the Celtic 'Garu' = 

o The Rev. C. R. Manning argued the ' dwelling-place ' theory 
in ' N. A.,' vol. vii., p. 169. 

f The opening of the great barrow at Stow Heath, in 1808, 
produced many ol these articles. 

Norfolk before the Normans. 

rough * it would be hard to say. But the early spelling 
of Lynn was Lcnn, a farm, no doubt the same as 
Loen in Denmark ; and Brandon could not have come 
from 'don,' a hill, for there is not one near, but is 
more likely the Danish ' Branden,' a still existing 
village. Breydon water by Yarmouth, for the same 
reason, cannot come from ' don.' 


The people of whose existence we have the first 
tangible and undoubted proof in our county are, to 
my mind, the Danes, whose first, and I think hitherto 
unsuspected, invasion, I hope to show was before that 
of the Romans, and not after those of the Romans 
and Saxons. 

As I shall prove hereafter, there are — chiefly in the 
N.E, half of the county — 256 places, either identical 
wholly (78) or in part (53) in name with villages still in 
Denmark, or provable to be Danish by their prefixes or 
affixes (125). How many more in the same district 
were also colonized by the Danes, it is now impossible 
to say ; but it is clear that the colonization — whenever 
it took place — was in that part of the county almost 
an exclusive one. That it was anterior to the Romans 
seems to me clear, for we find the root syllables of 

'■' It flows most placidly through a very level country. The 
'don' in Breydon Water seems Celtic at first sight, but there 
is an entire absence of hill for miles, and I apprehend it is a 
corruption of the Danish ' Bredeholm,' a village name still 
occurring in Denmark. Similarly ' Wensum ' may be the Danish 
Vensholm,' and the Bure be traced to the river which gives a 
name to the Danish Burfjord. 

A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Brancaster and Tasburgh represented to this day in 
Denmark ;* and it is absurd to suppose that this enor- 
mous and comprehensive invasion was the result of 
the intermittent rushes of the pirate Danes of the 
ninth and tenth centuries. As my proposed trans- 
ference of epochsf is sure to meet with determined 
opposition, I must be excused if I go into the ques- 
tion of Danibh settlements in Norfolk at considerable 

The importance and extent of the Danish settle- 
ment — whenever it took place — may be judged from 
the fact that no less than six of the Hundreds, viz. 
Forehoo, Gallow, Holt, Humbleyard, Loddon, and 
Lopham, arc identical in name with Danish villages ; 
while five more, North and South Greenhoe, Grimshoe, 
East and West Flegg, are obviously Danish also. 

No less than seventy-eight places in Norfolk^ are 
practically identical with existent Danish villages, viz.: 

Aaker — Acre (2). Branden — Brandon parva. 

Aldbjerg — Alburgh. Bregnedal — Bracondale. 

Barmer — Barmer. Brunsted — Brunsted. 

Bjergholm—Bircham tofts. Darum — Dereham. 

Bjorneholm — Burnham. Delling — Dalling.§ 

^ In the South we find the Danish village named Lunden 
amplified into the Roman Londinium, and Dovre into Dubroc. 
Examples of this might easily be multiplied, c.i^., Don into 

t For correspondence on this subject, see AtJtciiuitm of 
Sept.— Oct., 18S3. 

1 And yet the writer of Murray's 'Guide' wrote that 'it is 
remarkable that so few names of places in Norfolk and Sufiolk 
can be assigned to a Danish origin ' (!). 

(ij See also Field Dalling, of wliich the fubl part may be Fjeld. 
There is a Fjeld Dal in Norway. 

Norfolk before the Nonnans. 

Dybdale — Burnham 

Eiersted — Irstead. 
Felborg — Felbrigg. 
Fcerhoi — Forehoe. 
Fielby — Filby. 
Galthoe — Gallow. 
Gesing — Gissing. 
GrcEsholm — Gresham. 
Grcenhoei — Greenhoe. 
Hanning — Honing."^ 
Hassel fiord — Hassal 
Grove, near Fran- 
Hedeskov — Haddiscoe. 
Helgehave — Helgay, 
Helsinge —Rising. 
Holme — Holme Hale. 

St. Benets. 


next - the - 

Holt— Holt. 
Horning — Horning. 
Horse — Horsey. 
Horsted — Horstead. 
Humblegaard — Humble ■ 

Karhov — Carrow. 
Kjelling — Kelling. 
Kimmerlve — Kimberley. 
Kirkeby — Kirby Cane. 

Knappcn — Knapton. 

Knarreborg — Narburgh. 

Kolby — Coleby. 

Korrup — Corpusty.f 

Kroemmer — Cromer. 

Lod ne — Loddon. 

Laen — Lynn.| 

Lammess — Lammas. 

Langholm — Langham. 

Luddeholme — Ludham. 

Lopholm — Lopham. 

Lyng— Lyng. 

Marslund — Marshland. 

Miels— Meals by Burn- 

Morten— Merton (?). 

Nyland — Nayland. 

Orested — Worstead (?). 

Polleholm — Pulham. 

Risinge — Castle Rising. 

Ryborg — Ryburgh. 

Sahlhuus — Salhouse. 
„ — Salthouse. 

Sal— Sail. 

Saxtorp — Saxthorp. 

Skjernenge — Scarning. 

Snorren — Snorring (.-'). 

Soested — Sustead. 

Soholm — Saham (i*). 

Stroeden Strelev — Strat- 
ton Stravvless.§ 

Tidsel — Tivetshall. || 

^ Originally spelt Haning. 

■j" Pronounced ' Kurrup-stie.' 

X Originally 'Len.' 

§ It is very noteworthy that this place was called Stratton 
Streles in 56 Henry III.— see my Calendar to Norfolk Fines, 
p. III. 

II Pronounced ' Titsel.' 


6 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Toft— Toft Monks. Thorp— Market. 

Trees. by Haddis- 

West. coc. 

Thorp — Thorp. Vestervik — Westwick. 

Abbots. Vindeholm — Windham. 


Among these occur such hard jobs for etymologists 
as Acre,* Lammas, Corpusty, Sail, Snoring, Cromer, 
Carrow, Haddiscoe, Humbleyard, and Stratton Straw- 
less, but the difficulty is cleared away at once when 
we see their prototypes still in Denmark. 

The occurrence in pairs or groups-}- of these repro- 
duced names is very noticeable, e.g.: 

Lynge and Elsing. Lynge and Helsinge. 

Corpusty and Sax- Korrup [stre] and Sax- 

thorpe. torp. 

Dereham and Scarning. Darum and Skjerninge. 

Wymondham and Kim- Vindeholm and Kimmer- 

berley. lev. 

Honing and Brunstead. Hanning and Brunsted. 

Fulham and Tivetshall Polleholm and Tidsel. 

[' Titscl ']. 

Round Norwich (itself with a Danish affix) we get 
Y^Q.swick, YosKwick, Westtatc/c ward, Guhtzaicl', Cow- 
holinX (the site of the Cathedral), TJiorpe,\ Vockihorp, 
Bracondale [Bregncdalc] and Carroiv [Karhou].|| 

* Of course no village could ever have been called after any 
one acre of land. 

t I do not mean that the two Danish villages are necessarily 
close to one another, but that there are two of the same names 
as the English pair. 

X Probably the Danish Karholm, as also Carrow = Karhou. 

§ There was a ToXtJtoyp Manor in Norwich. 

II May not Ber Street simply have been the Danish Bjerg, 
and Tombland from Tdmmer .■" 

Norfolk before the Normans. 

Again, the acceptance of the theory of ' transplanta- 
tion ' of place-names frees us from the absurdity of 
many of our so-called derivations. We need no 
longer believe that Scarning was a ' dirty village,' or 
Dereham so called from its deer, that Burnham Deep- 
dale was so called from a non-existent dale, that Fel- 
brigg was a bridge where there was no water, or that 
Pulham was a village of wells, or that Ling-wood 
meant a wood of ling. 

Take Braconash. If Bracon = bracken, as we are 
told it is in Bracondale, this should mean * Fern-ash,' 
which is absurd ; and, as if to make it clearer, we find 
a ' Bregnedal ' in Denmark, which is of course our 
present Bracondale, which, as Munford admits, has no 
dale near it. 

Grant that place-names were transplanted in ages 
ago as they are now-a-days, we may easily understand 
that the original Danish village may well have been 
in a dale, while the Norfolk one that took its name 
from it is on a hill. 

Besides these absolute identities, we find there are 
fifty-three names of places the first and characteristic 
parts of which are identical with those of Danish 
villages, viz. : 

Barmer — Barford. Brandse — Brancaster. 

„ Barwick. Breining — Briningham. 

„ Barney."^ Braendesgaard — Brandes- 
Brakken — Braconash. ton. 

Blixtorp — Blickling. Ermelund — Irmingland. 

*^ It is noteworthy that these three and Barmer all lie 
altogether. The old derivation of Barford from ' barley ford ' is 
too absurd to be seriously considered. 

I — 2 

A Popular Hislory of Norfolk. 

Gasse — Gasthorp. 

Gimming — Gimmi'ngham. 

Hardenberg — Harding- 

Hassing — Hassingham. 

Havre — Haverland. 

Helling — Hellington. 

Herringe — Herringby. 

Hevring — Heveringland. 

Hoik— Holkham. 

Horn — Horningtoft. 

Hers — Horsford. 
„ Horsham, 
„ Horstead. 

Hun — Hun worth. 

Hyllynge — Hillington. 

Hove — Hoveton. 

Jelling — Illington. 

Kaal — Calthorpe. 

Kat— Catfield. 
„ Catton. 

Kjettinge — Kettering- 

Klippede — Clippesby, 
Koldkjar — Colkirk. 
Kung — Conghaiii. 
Kringel — Cringleford. 
Randers — Randworth. 
Ravning — Raveningham. 
Ridemanas — Ridlington. 
Ringe — Ringland. 
„ Ringstead. 
Rolles — Rollesby. 
Rude — Rudham. 
Sax — Saxlingham. 

„ Saxthorpe. 
Skotte — Scottow. 
Strade — Stradsett. 
Tase — Tasburgh. 
Thiele — Thelveton. 
Tjele — Tilney. 
Tude — Tuddenham. 
Tuns — Tunstead. 
„ Tunstall. 
Vare — Wareham. 
VellinGf — Wellingham. 

It is noticeable that several of these names, as 
QiZ.stliorpe, Herring;^/, Homing?!?/"/, Ingoldcs//w;^^', 
CdXthorpe, Clippesi^j/, Rolles^j, Sa^xthorpc, ^coXXotv, 
and Stradj-^//", bear undoubted Danish affixes. 

Now, if we look at the map opposite, we shall sec 
that the great bulk of these identities with Danish 
villages lie in the north and north-east of the county 
within a quasi-triangle of which the sea-coast is prac- 
tically the hypothenuse; a line drawn from the sea 
at Yarmouth to Harleston is the base, and another 
thence to Hunstanton the perpendicular. The tria- 
angle, though only one-half of the whole county 
contains a vast majority of the examples. 

Norfolk before the Normmts, g 

A very singular thing occurs here: the Hundreds of 
East and West Flegg have always been assumed to 
have been exclusively Danish from their own names, 
and from their almost invariable termination 'by;' 
but I cannot find that one of the place-names in it, or 
the adjoining Hundred of Plumstead (a tract of about 
600 square miles), is identical with any place in Den- 
mark. This would seem to point that this district 
was colonized by another Scandinavian race, possibly 
Swedes or Norwegians. 

The only parts of the county absolutely free from 
Danish, or indeed any Scandinavian names, are (a) a 
strip of country stretching from the coast north of 
Lynn for about 20 miles, and extending nearly to 
Dereham ; and (d) a long and wide strip extending 
from Southery and Thetford up towards the north- 
east of the county. This is easily to be accounted 
for from the fact that these districts are, and always 
were, the most sterile in the county. 

Besides the obviously Scandinavian* names men- 
tioned in the foregoing tables there are the following, 
which may be fairly assumed to be so from their 
affixes : 

"'■ The absolute identities between the Scandinavian place- 
names in Norfolk and Lincoln, showing the common origin of 
their settlers, is very interesting. I fancy that few Norfolk men 
know that there are places named Thetford, Wymondham, 
Whitwell, Roughton, Reepham, Walcot, Ashby, etc., in Lincoln, 
while some variorum readings may help us to better understand 
some other Norfolk places, e.g., Welbourn, Elsham, Scotter, 
Roxholme, Dunholme, Swayfield and Martin. Potter Hanworth, 
too, may be compared with our Potter Heigham. 

lo A Popular History of Norfolk. 

By* - 


- 17 

Oe and Hoc - 


- 8 

Toft - 





- 32 

Wick - 


- 13 



- 3 



- 4 




Sett - 


- 6 

Other obviously 



e.g., Sco ] 



garton, etc. 


- ^6 


If we add to those the 78 identities, and the 53 
places whose first syllables coincide with those of 
Danish villages, we get a total of 256 places, which we 
may fairly assume to have been Danish settlements, 
out of our 740 Norfolk parishes. 

How many more originally had Danish termina- 
tions such as * holm,' but which have been corrupted 
into 'ham,'j it is hard to say; but as our maps show us 

* These figures only represent the ' bys,' etc., not heretofore 
noted specially. For a fairly complete list see ' Norfolk Antiq. 
Misc.,' vol. i., p. 186. Subsequent search has furnished me with 
many other instances of places in Norlolk. bearing Scandinavian 
terminations, but as they are not parish names and would be 
useless for the purpose of comparative analysis, I do not sot 
them out here. 

t Besides those places now bearing the affix, there were 
formerly many others : e.i^.^ Foston was YostJuupc' ; Cley was 
C\yihorpc ; Wrctham was Wrethani//'6'//ry and no doubt there 
were many others {e.g., Applcthorp in Mitford Hundred, men- 
tioned in Domesday) which are now lost, especially on the 
coast. Gronen/ftfTi/f, we know, was washed away. — ' East 
Anglian,' vol. iii., p. 270. 

X H.if., Martham and Runham, which were once Marlholm and 

Norfolk befoi^e the Normans. 1 1 

that the vast proportion of those names were north of 
a line drawn between Lynn and Bungay, it may be 
said that the whole of the county, except the 
Downham, Swaffham, and Thetford districts, was 
nearly exclusively Danish. 


On closely scrutinizing the map of Norfolk, the 
distribution of these place-names seems to me so 
peculiar as to be worthy of some special notice and 
of a map. 

Kemble, in his * Appendix,' gives a long list of 
places in England bearing these terminations, which 
he believes to have been named after ancient Saxon 
* marks,' and indeed assumes, from the existence of 
such place-names, the existence of tribal families, 
whose names he supposes ended in * ingas.' His 
theory, in short, is that ^Eslington means the town 
of the iEslingas, and so on ; and because he finds 
names like iiEslingas in Kent, ^Escingas in Surrey, 
and Anningas in Northampton, occurring in Saxon 
charters, concludes that such names were neces- 
sarily Saxon — the possibility of an earlier invasion 
by any other race of men having escaped him. 

After careful consideration, I have come to the 
conclusion that place-names like Hannington, Gim- 
mingham, Briningham, and so on, were simply 
intended to mean 'the town or village of the settlers 

Runholm. Wroxharn was no doubt the same as the Roxholme 
of Lincoln. 

12 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

from Hanning, Gimining, or Brining' — places beyond 
the sea.* 

In our county (see p. 7), we find that the first two 
syllables of Briningham, Gimmingham, Hardingham, 
Hassingham, Hellington, Herringby, Hillington, 
Herringland, Raveningham, Ketteringham, and Wel- 
lingham, are neither more nor less than the names 
of existing Danish villages. Is there any pretence 
to say that they are also family names deducible from 
any known personal name-root ? Is it not reasonable 
to suppose that their termination * ing ' originally 
had its natural meaning of meadow, and not its 
fanciful one of ' a-family-derived-from,' given it by 
the believers in the mark theory. 

We must really give our ancestors credit for not 
being absolute fools. The absurdity of the old 
school of etymologists in making (x)ingham mean 
(x)-marshy-meadow-town, is of course now exploded ; 
but I venture to think the ' mark ' theory is often as 
wrong. In the parallel cases of (y)ham-ton, the 
absurdity of making the word mean (y) -village-town, 
was too gross and was never put forward ; but really 
there is little difference between the two. 

The way in which the ' inghams ' and ' ingtons ' 
are distributed over this county is very peculiar, and 
will be best understood by a reference to the map 
opposite this page. It will be seen that they 

* On the other hand, I will not commit myself to the theory 
that these 'inghams ' and ' ingtons ' are necessarily Danish. I 
do not fmd them in Danish maps, though there are plenty of 
' inglunds,' ' inggaardes,' and so on. 

Norfolk before the Normans. 1 3 

always occur within a few miles of one another, and 
that there are five great tracts of country which 
have not one example. Whether these place-names 
mark the invasion of a race of people who landed at 
the south-east by Lowestoft, and pushed upwards, 
chiefly to the fertile land of Holt and North Erping- 
ham, but which also sent out two long feeling expedi- 
tions, ending in the one case at Terrington, and in 
the other at Sandringham, I will not guess. The 
way in which, as it were, a single file of these names 
stretches for fifty miles across the country, from 
Hevingham to Sandringham, is, to say the least, 
suggestive of such a theory. 

Something may be learnt by comparing the relative 
proportion* of these * inghams ' and * ingtons ' with 
the well-known Danish endings of * by,' 'fleet,' 'toft,' 
etc., in two groups of adjoining countieSo 

Four North Coast Counties. 

and ' ingtons.' 



York . 


. 18 
. 8 

• 47 
. 48 









* I here use the figures given by Mr. W. R. Browne in his 
valuable paper on ' The Distribution of English Place Names ' 
(Philological Society), which are near enough, and are the more 
valuable from not being specially compiled for this purpose, and 
as more likely to be relatively right. 

14 A Popular Ilisiory of Norfolk. 
Five East and South Coast Counties. 

Essex . 
Kent . 

' inghams' 


and ' ingtons.' 


. 55 


. 20 


• 7 


. i6 


. i6 


114 112 [i : i] 

This result is a very peculiar one. On a coast- 
line divided nearly equally by the two batches oi' 
counties, a people who chose to call some villages 
' ingham ' and * ington ' settled all along the coast 
from Northumberland to Sussex, very evenly in pro- 
portion to the areas of such counties ; but another 
race, which settled more than thrice as densely in 
the four northern, barely held their own in the five 
southern counties. The extraordinary sub-differences 
of ratios between Lincoln and Norfolk, and Norfolk 
and Suffolk, are puzzles quite beyond my power to 


When we come to the Romans we get to undisputed 
ground. There is no room for speculation when 
standing under the walls of Caibter by Norwich, 
and admiring their grand solidity, and the vast area 
they enclose. This Caister is, however, the only 
station in Norfolk which has anything to show above 
ground ; for the other Caister by Yarmouth is practi- 
cally gone. 

Norfolk bcfoj'e the Normans. 15 

Perhaps the most striking piece of Roman road is 
that which enters the county at Scolc, where Roman 
remains have been found.* It then runs straight 
up by Dickle^wr^//, while a little farther on we 
have A\bui-gh lying a few miles off to the right. 
Farther up the road is Long Stratton — the town on 
the ' street ' — where Roman urns have also been 
found ; and we soon reach the important station of 
Tas(^?^r^/^ (' Ad Taum') — enclosing twenty-four acres 
— of which some remains are still visible. Next comes 
the splendid still-existing walled station of Caister, 
enclosing thirty-five acres, and said to be the largest 
in England ; but whether this or Norwich,-^ a few 
miles on, was the Venta Icenorum, who shall decide ? 

Up the Waveney from Lowestoft there are traces of 
Roman occupation, for past Beccles remains have been 
found at Geldeston, near which is also a place called 
'Dnnbiiry Hill. From Bungay there seems to have 
been a second road to Norwich, for urns and coins 
have been found at Ditchingham and Hedenham, and 
on the road stands Burgh Apton. 

From Yarmouth — guarded on the south by the 
splendid still-existing station at Burgh in Suffolk, 
from the north by Caister % (one or other of them 
being Garianonuvi) — we can trace marks of Roman 

* Roman remains have been found also at Diss, hard by. 

t Polydore Vergil (for what he is worth) talks of Cambridge 
being founded on a White Hill under the auspices of a King 
Gurgunt. Had he floating about in his mind ' Caer Gwent' 
and Blanchefleur of Norwich ? 

+ Many Roman coins were found in a field here called East 
Bloody Burgh Furlong. 

1 6 A Poptilar Hislory of Norfolk. 

occupation, stretching in a directly straight line across 
country to Weybourne, pottery and coins having been 
found at Burgh St. Mary, Potter Hcigham, SmdWburgk 
(near which is the Devil's Ditch, reputed to be a 
Roman camp or look-out), Fclmingham, Wborough, 
and Baconsthorpe, where a very large find (seven or 
eight stone weight !) of coins was made in 1878. 

Whether the straight road out of Norwich through 
St. Faith's was a Roman road leading to the coast by 
Cromer, I cannot say ; but the names of Stratton oc- 
curring at Stratton Strawless,* and of Burgh by 
Aylsham, are suggestive, the more especially as 
AXborough* lies due north of them. 

I should hardly doubt that the coast road from 
Happis^z^r^// to Branc^j/^r (Branodunum), where there 
is still a camp, was at all events used by the Romans ; 
for not only have Roman remains been found at Wey- 
bourne, but I find IncXeborough Hill, WdXbury Hill, 
Gra.nboro!fgh Hill, and Warborough Hill on its line, 
and the so-called Danish camp at Burnham may after 
all be Roman. It is said, on what authority I don't 
know, that this coast road was called the 'Jews* 
Way.' Another 'Jews' Way' leads from Burgh Castle, 
near Yarmouth. 

That the Romans had a place of observation some- 
where at the corner by Hunstanton sccnis most pro- 
bable, as it is hardly likely they would omit to have 

° It will be noticed that I mention Alborough, Stratton 
Strawless, and Ryburgh, as possibly Roman, though I have 
pointed out in Section II. of this chapter that their names are 
identical with Danish place-names. It is best to be honest and 
to puinl out both possibilities. 

Norfolk before the Nor77ians. 1 7 

one on such an unrivalled position. Moreover, the 
so-called ' Peddars' Way,'* which runs straight as a line 
from the important station at Castle Acre, would, if 
produced, exactly hit the best situation on the coast 
for such a look-out. 

On the west coast south of Hunstanton we find the 
great camp at Castle Rising, commanding the low- 
lying land near Lynn, while on the south side of Lynn 
we have the Roman Bank running south from Sutton 
Bridge, with Roman remains at Walton, another 
' Ingleboi'ough ' hard by it, and another Oxdurgli just 
below Wisbeach. 

South of Castle Acre we find Nar^nrgli, YiWhoj^oiigh, 
OyJ)iirgh, and \gborough (both of the last two have 
been thought to be the Icianos of Antoninus), all 
north of Thetfordf (Sitomagus). 

From Thetford there was no doubt another Roman 
way to Norwich, for we have traces of them at Bucken- 
ham and AtiXeboroiigk. 

Other detached Roman settlements were at Caston, 
\\^h.\nburgh, Matteshall Burgh, 'Kyburgh, and North 

Sepulchral urns, coins, and such like have been 
found in plenty, but no villas or buildings of any 
importance, and I think not even one tesselated 
pavement. The urns, etc., found in the Roman 
cemetery at Brampton were described by Sir Thomas 
Browne in his ' Hydriotaphia, or Urn Burial.' 

* I can't stand the idea that this way was simply to lead to 
an unimportant chapel like St. Edmund's at Hunstanton. 
t Can the' Brandon ' hard by be another ' Branodunum'? 


1 8 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

It is possible that in our existing surnames Tuck 
and Tucker, Dack and Lack, we have traces of the 
Roman personal names Tuccius, Daccius and 


It is very improbable that the coming of the Saxons 
was the simultaneous preconcerted inroad, under 
Hengist and Horsa, described by the early history 
books. The eastern part of England was too handy 
to the mainland not to tempt its occupants over from 
early times. Anyhow, even in the third century the 
cast coast was, either from its being settled by Saxons 
or by its being peculiarly subject to their inroads, 
known as the ' Saxon Shore,' for the Roman repre- 
sentative here was called the 'Comes Littoris Saxonici.' 
The greater invasions no doubt took place in or about 
449, and in less than a century the Angles, the Jutes, 
and the Saxons, who in popular parlance have been 
jumbled together and called 'Saxons,' or 'Anglo- 
Saxons,' had gained as much of England as they ever 
gained. That they gained much of Norfolk seems to 
me extremely doubtful. 

Nor is there much that is reliable in their so-called 
early history in the east of England. Sigebert is said 
to have founded Bury St. Edmund's Abbey, and to 
have retired to it in 644 ; and the kingdom of East 
Anglia is said to have been added in 792 by Offa to 
his kingdom of Mercia. 

But really until a comparatively late date there is 
nothing in the history of East Anglia but a string of 

Norfolk before the Normans. 19 

bare names, which may or may not have been evolved 
from the inner consciousness of early monkish writers. 

In 867 we are told that Hinguar and Hubba, the 
sons of Lothbroch, came over with a vast army to 
revenge the death of their father, who is said to have 
been murdered at Reedham. King Edmund himself 
was no doubt martyred ; but the whole story, from the 
shipwreck of Lothbroch to the talking, though 
severed, head of Edmund, is so interwoven with fiction 
that it is very hard to know what to believe. 

Of tangible traces of the Saxons in Norfolk we 
have few. There are some coins from the Thetford 
mint, and there are some churches which still show 
the architecture which has been arbitrarily called 

* Saxon,' and that is all. The well-known font at 
Burnham Deepdale, the massy towers of Tasburgh 
and South Lopham churches, and the arch on the 
south side oi St. Julian, Norwich, are all said by 
the Rev. R. Hart, in his very admirable lecture on 

* Norfolk Antiquities,' to be examples of Saxon work, 
and to those may be added the repaired ruin at 

At South Creak there is a large camp, said to be 
Saxon, and the way that goes from it was called 

* Blood Gate.' 


The second, or what we may term the Pirate 
Danes, came over about 867 under Hinguar and 
Hubba, and soon became masters of Norfolk, pushing 

20 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

out once more the ' Saxons ' from their never strong 
hold in the county. Stronger proof could hardly be 
offered of an earlier Danish settlement than that the 
names of one of those who fought here against the 
recent or pirate Danes were Ulfkettle Snelling — 
both essentially Danish names. 

That the very large proportion of Danish place- 
names in Norfolk can possibly be accounted for by 
the intermittent raids of the 9th and lOth centuries 
seems to me absurd. If the similar raids in France 
and Normandy have left next to no trace on their 
maps, why should the invasions on our east coast 
have left such strong evidences } However, the 
Danes, whether early or late, left strong enough 
traces of their occupation in the names of the people, 
and the old law of the district for the 'Denalagu/ 
or Danelaw, ran east as well as north of the Watling 
Street, and the bulk of such of our Norfolk names 
as we can trace to have been borne at an early date^ 
are Danisk A few will suffice : 













































It would have been strange if, after the two inva- 
sions of the Danes, we had not found strong traces ot 

Norfolk before the Normans. 21 

them in Domesday Book. There are 10,097 'free- 
men ' (' liberi homines ') mentioned in it, of whom 
4,277 were in Norfolk, 5,344 in Suffolk, 314 in Essex, 
and only 162 in all the rest of England ! In counties 
known to be colonized by the Saxons we find a pre- 
ponderance of ' servi ' and ' villani ' ; but here it is 
obvious the majority of the landowners were small 
independent freeholders, and there can be little doubt 
they owed their independence to the fact that they — 
the North folk and the South folk — occupied nearly 
all the two counties they had recently re-conquered, 
and, being a warlike race only just settling down 
from conquest, were wisely let alone by William and 
his advisers. 

A reference to the admirable shaded Domesday 
maps of England in Seebohm's early English Com- 
munity will show very strongly that the Danish 
counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk have 
far and away the la^'gest proportion of ' socmanni ' 
and 'liberi homines,' and the smallest proportion of 
' servi ' in England. Indeed there were no ' servi ' in 

* Though somewhat travelling beyond my province, I may 
be allowed to suggest that immense light would be thrown on 
the origin of many of our English surnames if the list of 
Danish place-names were carefully examined. A very short 
examination discovered the following : Bennebo (Benbow) ; 
Benzon (Benson) ; Birkebek (Birkbeck) ; Birket, Bjoerkelev 
(Berkeley) ; Bonnet, Botten, Braa (Bray) ; Corselitze (Corsellis); 
Haarbotle (Harbottle) ; Hegnet (Hignet); Herskind (Erskine); 
Kabbel (Cabbell) ; Karhow (Carew) ; Kattehoi (Catty); Kolbek 
(Colbeck); Lyndulse (Lindsay); Lcegard (Legard); Lommelev 
(Lumley) ; Loveland, Lovel, Ndrris (Norris) ; Raaby (Raby) ; 
and Rasley (Rashleigh). 

2 2 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Lincoln, and only about 4 per cent, in Norfolk 
and Suffolk. Of ' bordarii ' and ' cotarii ' we have 
about the average of the rest of England ; but, on 
the other hand, we have not half the average of 
* villani.' 





HEN William the Conqueror divided 
England among his followers, the bulk 
of the large estates were given to men 
of his own, or an allied race ; for roughly 
speaking, the 1,300,000 acres which make up our 
county were parcelled out into 1,392 estates, manors, 
knights' fees — call them what you will — of which 
Normans held by far the most, as far as value was 
concerned. A 'knight's fee' has been variously 
estimated, but 800 acres is generally thought to 
have been its average size. This would account for 
1,113,600 of these acres, and the difference (together 
with the large amount of the coast now lost, as at 
Eccles, Shipden, Keswick, and Whimpwell) was 
probably either waste water and fen, or the holdings 
of the small freeholders mentioned above. That such 
small freeholders were not free tenants of any manor 

A Popidar History of Norfolk. 

seems tolerably clear from their dealing with their pro- 
perties by fine in the King's Court. 

The following table will show the number of the 
manors held by the different lay grantees, and, 
roughly speaking, what they had done to deserve 
their grants. It is noticeable, however, that though 
the King held fciver manors than Bigot, Warren, or 
Bcaufoy, his were valued at ^^ 1,324 a year as against 
Beaufoy's £iS7 \ Warren's £i2g ; Bigot's £2Zg. 


Roger Bigot, or Bigod - - - - - 187 

Suppressed (?) Ralph de Waers (Guader) re- 
bellion in 1074, and founded Thetford 
Abbey. He was the ancestor of the Roger 
Bigod who told the King he would send 
him back the heads of his thrashers if he 
sent them to Norfolk. 

William de Warren _ _ . . _ 145 

Said, though on doubtful authority, to have 
married Gundrcda, the Conqueror's daugh- 
ter.* He built Castle Acre Castle, and 
founded the priory there. 

William de Beaufoy, Bishop of Thetford - - 98 

Said to have been Chancellor to the King. He 
gave most of his property to the bishopric, 
and Hubert de Rye, who would seem to 
have married his widow, took the rest — ne- 
scio quo warranto. 

The King 95 

• Mr. Chester Waters's recent pamphlet on the subject seems 
to conclusively settle that he did not. 

The Norman Conquest. 25 


Alan, Earl of Richmond 56 

He is possibly the Count Alan who married 
the King's daughter, Constance, but it is very 
doubtful whether all the manors granted to 
* Comes Alanus ' were granted to one per- 
son, as there were three persons then so 

Ralph Bainard - - - - - -52 

Lord of Castle Baynard, in London. 

Ralph de Bellafago - - - - - - 52 

Thought to have been a brother, or kinsman, 
of William de Beaufoy, the Bishop and 
Chancellor. His land, also, seems to have 
gone to the de Ryes. 

Godric Dapifer _-__-- 41 

The King's Steward for this district, who 
also held 6y manors for the King. He is 
said to have been ancestor of the de 

William de Scohies ----- 43 

A Norman from the town of Escoues, or Es- 
coyes. Nothing is known of him, but that 
he sold most of his land, a.d. i 102. 

Walter Gififart _---__ 30 

Was one of the Council held at Lillebonne, 
to decide on the invasion of England. Dis- 
tinguished himself at tlie battles of Morte- 
mer and Hastings, where he describes 
himself as white and bald-headed, weak, 
and short of breath. 

26 A PopJtlar History of Norfolk. 


Robert Malet 25 

He was son of the William Malet who com- 
mitted Harold's body to be buried after 
Hastings, and was made Governor of York 
Castle. Robert himself fought at Hastings. 

Hermer de Ferrariis 22 

' Conspicuous as being by far the largest un- 
lawful invader on the lands of the freemen 
of the county, and was probably one of the 
most violent and tyrannical of the powerful 
Norman barons' (Munford). Said to be 
ancestor of the de Wormegay family. 

Ralph de Todeni [de Conches] - - - 20 

Guessed to have been the 'son, nephew, or 
other relation ' of Roger de Toesny, the 
standard-bearer and rebel who was killed 
in 1036. He distinguished himself in the 
battle of Mortemer, in 1054, and in the 
' Roman de Rou,' is said to have declined 
to carry the standard at Hastings, prefer- 
ring to join in the active fighting. 

Hugh de Montfort 17 

He had distinguished himself at the battle of 
Mortemer, in 1054, when Henry I. of 
France was defeated, and was ' Master of 
the Horse' at Hastings. 

Peter de Valoines - - - - - - 17 

Is said to have been nephew to the Conqueror, 
and to have married Albrcda, sister of Eudo 
de Rye, the King's Dapifer. 

The No7'man Conquest. 27 


Eudo de Rye (Dapifer) ----- 9 

Son of Hubert de Rye, who saved the Con- 
queror's life, in 1044, from a conspiracy. 
The King's Dapifer, or Steward, and Gover- 
nor of Colchester Castle. His brother, Hu- 
bert, was Governor of Norwich Castle, and 
part founder of the Cathedral. 

It is strange to note how soon the disintegration of 
these fifteen great estates began. Malet's land was 
taken away from him while he lived ; Scohies sold 
his ; Giffart's, Montfort's, and Rye's passed out of 
their names to their daughters and heiresses. Both 
the Beaufoys' lands were apparently given away from 
the male branch of the family to a man who married 
the widow of its head. Ferrar's and Warren's estates 
went to heiresses in three, and Valoines's in four 
generations. The King most unfairly took away 
Bigot's ancestral property, in the fifth generation, by 
a piece of very sharp practice, while the Todeni's died 
out in the male line in 131 1, and the Bainards a few 
years later. 


Of course a few namesakes and possible descendants 
from collateral branches of some of the tenants incapite 
still remain in the county, e.g., Warren and Rye. I 
have not included Algar, Almar, Asger, and other 
personal names, as the present bearers of them may 
come from any of the sub-tenants and others. Still 
these may be noticed : 

28 A Popttlar History of Norfolk. 

Algarus . 

Almarus . 

Bunde {lilicr homo) . 

Coleman {liber homo) 

Curcon de 


Fisc {liber homo) 


Ketel {liber homo) . 




Ramis de 


Suetman {liber Jiomo) 



Verli de . 




Bunn ? 

Coleman and Colman. 









Reymes and Rhymes 



Too ley. 




Most of the names in the second column occur in 
the 'New Domesday' of 1873. The place-names 
introduced by the Normans were few. They nick- 
named Norwich Castle ' Blanche-flower,' and called 
three Priories ' Mountgrace,' ' Mountjoy,' and 
' Normansburgh ;' but most of their names were 
affixes, like Swanton Morley, Stow Bardolph, Saham 
Tony, and Framingham Pigot. Of their language, the 
word ' largesse,' so dear to harvest-men, is the best 
known one that remains. 


The desire of the heads of wealthy and powerful 
families to trace their pedigrees from some one who 
' came over with the Conqueror ' has always been 

The Norman Conquest. 29 

strong. We all know how the ' Roll of Battle Abbey ' 
— or rather the various lists that go by this name — 
have been tampered with by the insertion of various 
obviously non-Norman names. But the worst con- 
coctions had their origin in the reign of Elizabeth, 
when Harvey, Glover, and other unscrupulous heralds 
forged and invented Norman ancestors for well-to-do 
families all over England. 

Recent research has done much to purge the 
Peerage of these ridiculous fabrications ; but a col- 
lection of them would be an instructive commentary 
on the value of the work of the older heralds and of 
the 'visitations.' 

A few of the worst cases in our county are the 
pedigrees of: 

(a) Howard, Duke of Norfolk — Premier Peer and 
Earl Marshal of England. This family descends 
from Sir William Howard, who was a grown man 
and on the Bench in 1293, whose real pedigree is very 
obscure and doubtful, and who invariably spelt his 
name Haward. 

There is great reason to believe that Haward 
is simply * Heyward,' defined by Halliwell as the 
person who guarded the farmyard at night. Two 
Coram rege rolls, referred to by the heralds as men- 
tioning William * de ' Howard and William * Hau- 
ward,' have each been tampered with to make them 
so read — the * le,' which was undoubtedly in the 
first, having been cut out ; and the tail of the * y ' in 
the second having been also removed with a knife, 
to make ' Hayward ' read * Hauward.' 

30 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

The pedigree itself was concocted very carelessly, 
and can deceive no one. It traces the Howards to 
' Auber, Earl of Passy, in Normandy,' whose grand- 
son, Roger Fitz Valerine, is said to have owned the 
Castle of Howarden, or 'Howard's den' (!). Alliances 
with the Bigods, the St. Meres, the Bardolphs, the 
Brus, and the Trusbuts are liberally provided, to 
bring in nice-looking quarterings, while an alterna- 
tive descent from Hereward the Wake is also put 

Unluckily the matches in question are con- 
spicuous by their absence from the very well-known 
pedigrees of the famiUes in question ; and as to the 
Bigod match, Maud Bigod was living in 1245, while 
her alleged great-gyeat-grcat-great-grandson, the judge, 
was a judge in 1293 ! The whole of this fiction has 
now been abandoned by the family. 

(b) Tou-'Hshcnd (Marquis), of Rainham. The an- 
cestor created for this family was one Lodovic, a 
* noble Norman,' who is said to have obtained the 
manor of Ranham, temp. Hen. I., by marrying 
Elizabeth de Hauville — the actual fact being that 
the first Towshend traceable at Rainham was one 
John atte Townshend, who was a sub-tenant there in 

' John atte Townshend,' as every one knows, simply 
means ' John who lives at the end of the town ' — a 
very unlikely sobriquet for a Norman who had 
married the heiress of the manor. As a matter of fact, 
Hauville's manor did not come to the Townshends 
till about 1420. I regret to say that this pedigree is 

The Norman Conquest. 31 

still adhered to, and the arms of Hauville quartered 
by the present marquis. 

(c.) ClcYC, of Blickling and Ormesby. This family 
was traced to one Clere monte, * assistant to William 
Duke of Normandy.' Matches with the Earl of 
Patele, Martell, Amberfield, Molyns, and others were 
provided, as in the Howard fabrication ; but the 
concoctor fell into just such a muddle with his dates 
as did he who invented the Townshend pedigree, for 
he makes a man who was alive in 1316 great-great- 
great-grandfather to a man who levied a fine, and was 
therefore of age only sixteen years later. 

{d) Hare, of Stow Bardolph. The early part of 
this pedigree — tracing the Hares from Jervis, Earl 
of Harcourt, who came in with the Conqueror — is 
too ridiculous to need any exposure here. 

It is singular to note that very fair presumptive 
pedigrees, showing descents from old Norfolk families, 
probably of Norman origin, could have been framed 
for the last two families, if the heralds had done 
their duty ; for, as early as John, I find the De Cleres 
at Ormesby (a fact of which the pedigree-forgers were 
blissfully ignorant) ; and there can be little doubt that 
the Hares were a branch of the widespread family of 
Le Eyr or Le Heyr. The rush for a Norman pedigree 
at any cost was, however, so great that there was no 
time for any genuine research. Even the De Greys of 
Merton, the oldest and best of our Norfolk families 
— overlooking their obvious descent from Arnolph de 
Grai, of Grai in Normandy — were induced to begin 

32 A Popular History of Norfolk, 

their pcdij^ree with an imaginary junction with 
* Rollo or Fulbcrt de, Croy,' of Picardy. 

Nothing, in fact, was too wild or too absurd. 
Quarterings were recklessly appropriated, and re- 
main to this day monuments of the impudent zeal 
of the fabricators and the credulity of their em- 
ployers. The Boleyn pedigree, concocted when the 
Lord Mayor began to get into society, is as rotten 
as his grand-daughter's character ; while the Buhver 
family — who I believe to be really descended on 
the female side from the old family of the De Dallings 
— actually wanted to make out that their patronymic 
was not Bull-Nvard, the man who looked after the 
manor bull, but Bolver, one of the war-titles of 




IGHT and left, all over Norfolk, directly 
the Norman grantees came to take up 
their possessions, rose up their castles. 
' New and strong, and cruel in their 
strength, how the English must have loathed the 
damp smell of the fresh mortar, and the sight of the 
heaps of rubble, and the chippings of the stone, and the 
blurring of the lime upon the green sward ; and how 
hopeless they must have felt when the great gates 
opened, and the wains were drawn in, heavily laden 
with the salted beeves, and the sacks of corn and 
meal furnished by the royal demesnes, the manors 
which had belonged to Edward the Confessor, now 
the spoil of the stranger : and when they looked into 
the castle court, thronged by the soldiers in bright 
mail, and heard the carpenters working upon the 
ordnance — every blow and stroke, even of the hammer 
or mallet speaking the language of defiance.' So 

34 -^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

said Palgrave, who, in spite of his ah"cn descent, wrote 
as forcibly and strongly on the subject as though he 
had been of kin to the men whose feelings he was so 
well describing. 

Norwich Castle — once called ' Blanchflower ' — 
thought to have been built by Canute on an old site, 
was of course the most important of all the Norfolk 
castles. Singularly enough, it was the only one of 
them which was ever held against the Conqueror, 
when Ralph de Guaer, or de Guader, the Earl of the 
East Angles, when he rebelled in 1074, defended it. 
After he fled it was stoutly defended for him by his 
wife, and held out for some time against the King's 
army, capitulating only on honourable terms. Roger 
Bigod is said to have then had its custody, but 
whether it was he or another Roger Bigod who built 
Bigod's Tower and the great keep — one of the largest 
in England — is not known. For one hundred and 
fifty years or so its history was a stirring one, for it 
was held against the Barons for Rufus, seized again in 
Stephen's interest, reseized by Hugh Bigod in the 
reign of Henry U. (1174), when Jordan de Fantosme 
says : ' A Lorraine traitor betrayed it, therefore it 
was surprised,' and taken by Lewis of France, it is 
said by treachery, in 12 16. 

Next in importance to Norwich was, of course. 
Castle Acre, built by William de Warren, who, we 
have seen, was the second largest landholder in the 
county, and who was not, like Bigod, so lucky as to 
drop into a ready-built castle. 

Odo, the warlike Bishop of Baycux, who was the 

Results of the Conquest. 3 5 

King's half-brother, and had a grant of Rising, which 
commanded the low- lying land by Lynn, no doubt 
erected a temporary fortress there — on the old 
Roman mound — and when his lands were taken 
from him and given to the De Albinis, William de 
Albini built the present grand castle on its site. 

The Beaufoys, or their successors the Ryes, were 
thought by the late Mr. G. A. Carthew (Hist, of 
Launditch, iii., p. 417) to have had a castle at 
S wanton IMorley, where there is still a place called 
the Castle Island, and some traces of walls and a 

It is singular that these three castles stretch almost 
in a line with themselves and Norwich across the 
centre of the county. 

More northerly, up the Aylsham Road, was Hors- 
ford Castle, built by Walter de Cadomo, a sub-tenant 
of the Malets. A circular mound with traces of an 
outer ditch is all that is now left of the keep that 
once commanded the northern road. There is no 
reason to suppose that Thetford Castle mound ever 
had any Norman fortification on it — indeed, its 
summit is far too small for one — and the castle which 
dominated these parts was no doubt that at Old 
Buckenham, built by De Albini, of which nothing but 
a ruined building, probably the donjon, and a frag- 
ment of wall remain. At Kenninghall, no doubt, De 
Albini had some sort of a castle on the site of the old 
works, but I believe I am correct in saying that there 
is now no trace of it. Again, there is little doubt there 
was a castle at Gimmingham, for Edward I. stayed 

36 A Pop 21 lav History of Norfolk, 

there in 1277 and 1285, when inspecting his castles 
and forts. 

I low many of the 1150 castles which are said to 
have been built in England during the reign of 
Stephen, and to have been destroyed in that of 
Henry II., were in Norfolk, it is now impossible to 
state. I, for one, very much doubt the figure at which 
they were estimated,* and prefer Robert de Torigny's 
estimate of 375. 

The later castles, erected by royal licensesf to 
crenellate, were at 

Great Hautbo}^^ — licensed to Robert Baynard, in 
6 Edward II. 

Gresham — licensed to Edmund Bacon, in 12 
Edward II. 

Scoulton — licensed to Constantine de Mortuo- 
niari, in 13 Edward II. 

Claxton — licensed to William de Kerdeston, in 
14 and 50 Edward III. 

Lyng — licensed to John de Norwich, in 17 
Edward III. 

Blakeworth in Stoke — licensed to John de Nor- 
wich, in 17 Edward III. 

Oxburgh — licensed to Edmund Bedingfcld, in 
21 Edward IV. 

** Winwall House, in Wereham, though undoubtedly Norman, 
was too small and too clearly non-fortified to have been a castle. 
It is said to have been the prison of the Honour of Clare, and 
is only 35 ft. by 27ft., and 16 ft. high. 

t Sometimes the Lords built castles without license, e.g. in 
3 Edw. I. Wm. IJelct of Shouldham ' built a castle to the King's 
prejudice, and that of his castle at Norwich.' Manningtoii 
is said to have had an embattled castle, which was built by 
Wm. Sumner by license of the King. 

Results of the Conquest. 37 

Of these the last-named is fairly perfect, and Gres- 
ham has some ruins left standing, though there is not 
much there. Slight traces are left of Hautboys, 
Lyng, and Claxton, but of Scoulton and Blakeworth 
I find nothing. The Bishops of Norwich had licenses 
to fortify their palaces as under : 

Norwich - - - i Edward III. 
Gaywood - - 11 Richard II. 

North Elmham - 1 1 Richard II. 

William Belet built a castle at Marham ' to the 
prejudice of our Lord the King and his castle of 
Norwich,' before 1274, when it was presented (Kirk- 
patrick, p. 254), but nothing seems known of it now. 

Caister Castle, by Yarmouth, which was built soon 
after the year 141 5 by Sir John Fastolf, Middleton 
Tower by Lord Scales, and Baconsthorpe Castle, prob- 
ably completed in its present form about the same 
time, are three of the most perfect ruins ; while the 
manor-house of East Barsham, and Beaupre Hall in 
Outwell, were both practically fortified castles. 

Berlinge Castle, Norfolk, is mentioned on the 
Patent Roll of 3 Richard II., 3rd pt., m. 23, as being 
confirmed to William Bardolf, and I think this must 
be a mistake for Lerling, as there is no such place as 
Berling, while the Bardolphs had to do with Larling, 
I cannot, however, trace anything about a castle 

Three only of the Norfolk monasteries, viz.. East 
Dereham Nunnery, said to I?. we been built by " Anna 

38 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

King of the East Angles," in 645 ; St. Benct's at Holme, 
said to have been founded by Canute ; and Molycourt, 
were in existence when WiUiam I. came over to 
England. Nothing is now left of the first or the last, 
while of St. Bcnet's, once a mitred abbey with enor- 
mous possessions, there are but the ruins of a great 
gateway, and some long and wide foundations above 

From the Conquest to the end of the 13th century, 
the pious of Norfolk built and endowed monastic 
establishments with great and unallayed vigour, for 
the rate of building varied very slightly; the figures 
shown by an analysis I have made as carefully as 
the information in existence would allow, being as 
follows : 

From 1066 to iioo - - - 1 5 

„ IIOI to 1200 - - - 30 
„ 1 201 to 1300 - - - 26 

But in the next century the falling off was immense, 
the figures being : 

From 1 301 to 1387* - - - 6 

Nearly every great family founded one monastery 
or nunnery at least. The De Warrens founded at 
Castle Acre, Heacham, Thctford (2), Slevesholm, and 
Wormegay ; the Bigods at Pentney, Thctford, and 
Weybridgc ; and the De Albinis at Wymondham, Old 
Buckenham, and Marham. Herbert de Lozinga, the 
wise and able Bishop of Norwich, has had the credit 

* The last dijte 1 find, vu., Austin FrLiis at Thetford, by 
John of Gaunt. 

Restdts of the Coftqiiest. 

of being the greatest founder. His fair fame has for 
years been smirched by a ridiculous fable, that ' dc 
Lozinga' meant 'the flatterer or liar.' It has been 
proved to demonstration that his name simply meant 
' of Lorraine,' and that there was another bishop — at 
Hereford — at the same time of the same name. That 
he is, however, entitled to all the credit of building the 
priories of Norwich, Yarmouth, and Lynn, and the 
monastery of North Elmham, seems more doubtful. 
It has been appositely said (I forget where) that it is 
more probable he was the energetic collector of the 
funds for such foundations — in fact, the honorary secre- 
tary of an early Church Building Association ; for it is 
idle to suppose that any one man could have been 
wealth)' enough to erect such edifices as those just 
named, at his own expense. 

The impetus given by his example was no doubt 
immense. Nobles who saw with pleased awe the 
enormous foundations and beautiful work at Norwich, 
went away to erect not unworthy companions to the 
great church : William de Warrenne at Castle Acre, 
Peter de Valoignes and his wife at Binham, Ralph de 
Tony at Westacre, and William de Glanville at Bacton 
or Bromholm ; and the ruins of their work remain to 
this day, to show us how beautiful and how sound it 
was. If it were possible to tabulate the connections 
and relationship of all the worthy founders, I think it 
would be seen that much of this good work was done 
by groups of certain families and their connections. 

Take, for example : Ralph de Cadomo and his wife, 
Sybilla de Cheyney, founded Horsham. William de 

40 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Cheyney, who I take to be her brother, founded Cox- 
ford. William de Cheyney, Sybilla's son, founded 
Sibton; while his daughter Margaret (herself a great 
benefactor to Carrow) married first Robert Fitz-Roger, 
who founded Langlcy, and secondly Roger de Cressy. 
Roger married Isabel de Rye, who founded Beeston. 
Her father Hubert and her uncle Henry were great 
givers to Canterbury, Belvoir, Norwich, and South- 
wark ; while her father Hubert was part founder of 
Norwich, her uncle Eudo founded St. John's, Col- 
chester, and her aunt founded Binham. Her mother, 
Agnes de Tony, founded Aldby, and her father Robert 
founded Belvoir. Here we have sixteen persons, shown 
in one pedigree, founding nine abbeys, etc., between 
them, while the other six all gave largely to similar 

Of course, of the earlier foundations those for Bene- 
dictines were far most numerous. Out of the first 
fifteen, the earliest four and eight of the other eleven 
were of this order. The Austin or Black Canons first 
efi'ccted a settlement here at VValsingham about io6r, 
and again at Pentney some time in the Conqueror's 

William de Warrenne brought the Cluniacs in when 
he made Castle Acre a cell to his great Lewes Priory 
in 1085, and from that time they became as numerous 
as their predecessors. 

The three orders had it all their own way till 11 39, 
when the Canons of St. Sepulchre and Holy Cross 
effected a settlement at Stratford. The nuns of the 
Order of Fontevrault came in about iiSi, thePre- 

Results of the Conquest. 41 

monstratensian or White Canons in 11 88, the Cister- 
cians sometime in the reign of Henry II., the 
Gilbertines in that of Richard I., while the Friars 
Preachers or Black Friars and the Friars Minors or 
Grey Friars reached Norwich simultaneously in 1226. 
The Carmelites or White Friars were at Lynn before 
1260, while the Austin Friars did not come in till the 
beginning of the reign of Edward I. 

The following table will show the relative numbers 
of the Norfolk monastic establishments and their 
total : 

Benedictines - - - - 27 

Austin or Black Canons - - 18 

Cluniacs ----- 8 

Carmelites or White Friars - - 6 

Friars Preachers or Black Friars - 5 

Friars Minors or Grey Friars - 4 

Austin Friars - - - - 3 

Premonstratensian or White Canons 3 

Cistercians ----- 3 

Friars of the Sack - - _ 2 

Friars of Our Lady . - - 2 

Red Friars ----- i 

Canons of St. Augustine - - i 
Canons of St. Augustine and of 

Mertune - - _ _ i 

St. Sepulchre or Holy Cross - - i 

Fontevrault ----- i 

Gilbertines ----- i 
Holy Trinity for the Redemption of 

Captives - - - - i 


Of which sixty-six were regulars and sixteen friars. 
We are now brought face to face with the question 

42 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

— What was it that caused, first the f^radual and then 
the total cessation of abbey-building in Norfolk ? It 
may be said that it was because enough had been 
built to serve the county, but I do not think that was 
the real reason. Certainly a similar reason cannot be 
given to account for the enormous number of churches 
in our county — more than in even Yorkshire, a county 
three times its size. 

I think the real cause was partly the great increase in 
number of semi-private chantries,* — for men who could 
not afford to build an abbey could found a chantry ; 
and it would seem to have become the fashion rather 
to found a chantry on your own account than be a 
very small part-founder of an abbey — and more greatly 
the way in which religious guilds were increasing in 
number and strength in the reign of Richard II., when 
we find the building of monasteries coming to a dead- 

The guild certificates taken in that reign, which are 
still preserved in the Public Record Office, give in 
several cases the dates of their foundations. At Nor- 
wich the dates are 1307, 1350, 1 360, 1364, 1375, 1376, 
1380, 1384, i3S5,and 1385 ; and at Lynn, 1316, 1329, 
1359, 1367. 1368, 1372, 1374, ^ll^> 1376. and 13S3; 
while another (Oxburgh) is dated 1378. The rapid 
growth of these guilds — which wisely combined a 
burial club and a convivial club.f with business-like 
provisions for the safe insurance of their members 

* Taylor estimates them at 138 in Norfolk, and the guilds at 

t For some notes as to their observances and drinking-bouts, 
see chap. viii. 

Res2dts of the Conquest. 

through purgatory — it will be noticed took place at 
the very time when the increase of the monasteries 
was ceasing. 

Of the military orders, the Knights Templars had a 
small preceptory at Haddiscoe from 1 218 to 1312, of 
which no traces now remain. Nor is there anything 
left of the Commandery of the Knights Hospitallers, 
founded in 1173 at Carbrooke ; which was of course, 
while it existed, the only place in the county where 
excommunication had no terrors, the Hospitallers 
like the Templars having the peculiar privilege of 
giving spiritual comfort and Christian burial during an 
interdict* With the plunder of this house Henry 
Vni. partly endowed the 'Poor Knights of Windsor,' 
five of whom are still kept out of the Carbrooke 


Perhaps no problem is more troublesome to the 
Norfolk antiquary than the long-vexed question — 
Why Norfolk, of all counties in England, should have 
so extremely large a number of churches .'' It is not 
as though its population was enormous in early times, 
when much of its sterile face was covered up with 
briar and wood, and much more hidden with water 
and marsh. How then are we to account for the fact 
that Norfolk, with its 2,024 square miles, has 730 
parishes and churches, 117 more than Yorkshire, with 

* Another of their privilejjes was that their tenants and 
retainers could fix a cross on their houses as a sign of exemption 
from tithes and other imposts. 

44 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

nearly treble its area, viz., 5,836 square miles ? It is 
singular that the next greatest numbers are also both 
for Eastern counties, viz., Lincolnshire (652) and 
Suffolk (510).* 

While Westmoreland has 23"8, Northumberland 
22' I, Cumberland 146, Durham \y\, Cheshire itq, 
Lancashire iO"9, Yorkshire 9*5 square miles on an 
average to a parish, and the average of all the English 
counties is only 5"i, we are overstocked with a church 
to every 27,t and Suffolk is about the same (29). It 
is very noticeable that not only had each little village 
its church, but some places had two or more in one 
churchyard ; e.g.y St. Mary and St. Margaret of 
Antingham, where the tradition goes that they were 
built by two sisters who had quarrelled and would not 
go to church together. Another story of quarrelling 
sisters is at Ranworth, where two ladies" are said to 
have disputed who should take precedence ; the unsuc- 
cessful one built Panxworth for herself. 

Not only were the parish churches so numerous, but 
I have every reason to believe that the relative pro- 
portion of all monastic and conventual foundations 
was equally high, while the number of guilds was 
enormous. Taylor counted 909, which is, I fancy, an 
under-estimate, for there were 75 that we know of in 
Lynn alone. 

Taylor says on this point, ' The Diocese of Norwich 

* The monastic and conventual foundations in Norfolk were 
153, against Suffolk's 94, while Cambridge only had 8 ^.."). — 

t And yet some few parishes are very large ; e.g.., Outwell is 
16,454 acres, but not all in Norfolk. 

Results of the Conquest. 


contains about one-twentieth of the superficial extent 
of all England and Wales : its proportion of monastic 
revenues is about one-sixteenth of the whole. . . And 
the number of monasteries, colleges, and hospitals 
included within the same district, is something less 
than one-ei2[hth of the whole ' 



FTER the rebellion of Ralph de Guaer, 
in 1074, already touched on in the third 
chapter, the county remained fairly quiet 
till the unhappy occurrence at Richard 
I.'s coronation began the series of persecutions of 
the Jews in England, which is so foul a blot on our 

I say ' began ' somewhat doubtfully, because there 
can be little doubt that when the monstrous charge 
against the Nor\vich Jews, of crucifying a little 
Christian boy — afterwards canonized as St, William, 
the Boy and Martyr — and burying his body in 
Thorpe Wood, was made in 1137 or 1144,* it 
was made the excuse for murder and plunder, as 
were all subsequent incidents of a similar sort. 

To one fact I would draw special attention, and 
that is that even in the ridiculous account in the 
' New Legend,' it is said that the Jews went to the 
Sheriff and bribed him. If there is one thing more 

* The Chronicles differ as to the date, but the latter is, I be- 
lieve, righr. 

PersectUions and Risings. 47 

sure than another about all these accusations, it is 
that the Jews always openly appealed to the civil 
power at once. 

When Richard was crowned in 1189, the tide of 
persecution which began, it is said, by a scare at his 
coronation, but which was more probably the result 
of a pre-arranged plunder-plot, reached Norwich 
among other towns, and the Jews were attacked and 
slain in their own houses, except those who managed 
to escape into the castle, which was then, as on other 
occasions, their only refuge. 

This massacre was followed,* or possibly duplicated, 
at Lynn, where it was alleged that the Jews were so 
enraged at the conversion of one of their body to 
Christianity, that they set upon him in order to kill 
him, that he took refuge in a church, and that they 
broke open the doors to get at him. The story goes 
on to say that the townspeople did not like to inter- 
fere because the King had taken the Jews under his 
protection, but that some pious strangers and 
foreigners, who were trading there, fell on the Jews, 
slew several of them, and burnt and pillaged their 
houses, and, having thus fulfilled their religious 
duties, gathered up their plunder and sailed away. 

This was followed in 1223 by a paltry little perse- 
cution by the Bishops, who gave directions that no 
one should sell victuals to the Jews, or have any 
communication with them. The King, however, 
derived too much income from the Israelites to allow 
them to be starved, so he sent down close letters 
• William of Newbury says preceded. 

48 A Poptdar History of Norfolk. 

to the Sheriffs of Norwich, ordering that victuals 
and other necessities should be sold them.* 

In 1230 the Norwich Jews were accused of seizing 
a Christian boy — Odard, the son of Benedict, the 
physician — as he was playing in the streets of Nor- 
wich, and circumcising him, calling him * Jurnepin,' 
as a new name. Some historianst have alleged that 
the Jews proposed to murder him aftenvards, but this 
is obviously incorrect, for a day and a night after the 
occurrence he was allowed to go away — one can 
hardly suppose a lad of five could * escape ' from a 
gang of adult murderers — and was found near the 
river-bank * crying and howling ' by a woman, who 
took him home with her. Next day the Jews seem 
to have come openly to her house claiming him as 
* their Jew,' and warning the woman to give him no 
pig's-flesh to eat, because he was a Jew. 

I think I have shown in my account of the affairj 
that it arose from a bold and fanatical attempt on 
the part of the Norwich Jews to rescue what they 
thought a brand from the burning, and bring back a 
lost sheep to the true fold of Israel. * Benedict,' the 
boy's father's name, was one well known among the 
Jews of Norwich (one of those accused of the assault 
was a * Benedict ' himself), and the profession of a 
physician was at that time essentially Jewish. Just 
at this time, too, we know that conversion was going 
on in Norwich, for a convert, called Hugh de Norwico, 

o Close Roll of 7 Henry III., m. 29. 

t E.g.^ Holingshcd. 

\ Norf. Ant. Misc., i., pp. 312-344. 

Persecutions and Risings. 49 

was sent up in 18 Henry III., from Norwich, to the 
' Domus Conversorum,' as we see from an entry in 
the Close Roll of that year. That the Jews did 
sometimes make desperate efforts to counteract con- 
version, seems to be proved from entries occurring in 
the Close Roll only three years later, in which the 
Oxford Jews are said to have taken away, or stolen, 
a converted and baptized child;* and in 18 Edward I. 
we find, among the petitions to Parliament, one 
begging the King to revoke the baptism of a Jew boy, 
which had taken place in St. Clement's Church, 
London. Be that as it may, the incident of 1230, 
whatever prompted it, was eventually taken advan- 
tage of by the clergy, and after a remarkable interval 
— four or five years — an indictment was preferred 
against thirteen of the chief Norwich Jews for having 
mutilated the boy ' in despite of the Crucifixion and 
of Christianity,' and ten of the Jews who appeared 
were sent to prison. 

To allay the excitement no doubt caused among 
the ignorant by the prosecution, the King sent a 
close letter to the Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, pro- 
hibiting any Christian woman from serving the Jews, 
either by nursing the children or in any other wa}-, 
an ordinance which was followed the next year (1236) 
by one which directed that no interest should run 
during the minority of the heir for a debt due to a 
Jew from the heir's ancestor. For four years the 
prisoners were kept in ward. Then they paid the 
King a fine of £20 to be tried by a mixed jur}% but a 

* Close Roll, 21 Henry III., m. 22. 

50 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

month afterwards he broke faith with them, and 
countermanded the directions for such jury, and 
directed that his Justices should try them as they 
should think best. 

When and where they were tried I cannot find 
out, but two at least were hung, and Stow says the 
others had to pay a fine of 20,000 marks. Here the 
episode ends, and with it practically the history of 
the Norwich Jews, though we hear indirectly that 
their house called * Thor ' was burned down, and 
that not long after Abraham, the son of Deulecresse, 
was drawn and burnt for blasphemy. It has been 
the custom to upbraid the Jews for taking excessive 
interest, c.g.^ in one case''^ 86f per cent, per annum ; 
but if they took it with one hand they had to pay 
away most of it to the King with the other ; e.g., 
Josce Barlibred had to pay 2,000 marks in 11S6 for 
bare libertyto live in England; Jurnet was fined 5,525^ 
marks in the same year ; and Isaacf of Norwich, in 
1218, had to pay the immense sum of 10,000 marks 
— £6,666 13s. 4d. of ihciv money — while in eight 
years Jew fines amounting to ,^420,000 were col- 
lected. Again, it is doubtful whether they ever got 
or held much of their profits. The King would in 
very many cases quietly 'pardon' or remit to debtors 
debts which did not belong to )nm, but to a Jew ; and 
the unhappy lender might whistle, not only for his 

° Palgrave, ' Rise and Progress,' ii., p. 9. 

f I suspect he was the Isaac whom John persuaded, by his skill 
in dentistry, to pay 10,000 marks and that the terms were modi- 
fied by his son. 

Persecittions and Risings. 51 

profit but for the actual money he had lent, of which, 
to use the technical language of the race-course, he 
was * welshed.' They were robbed and mulcted at 
every turn, and even had to pay to help the outfitting 
of crusades to recover the Sepulchre of Him in whom 
they disbelieved and whom they despised. Again, 
was the personal danger they incurred nothing, and 
not to be paid for in meal or in malt ? Was nothing 
to be allowed for the risk of their trade, the burnings 
of their houses, and the massacre of themselves and 
their families ? I cannot see that they got so much 
out of their business after all. They, like their 
descendants nowadays, liked a speculative business, 
but I doubt if the Hebrews of the Stock 
Exchange would have liked the excitement of the 
twelfth century. Before leaving the early Norwich 
Jews I may mention a very curious mediaeval cari- 
cature of them, which occurs on one of the Jews' 
Rolls, formerly in the Pell Office, and which shows 
the insults they had to bear even from those who 
robbed them. Aaron of Norwich is represented as a 
three-faced man, crowned. To his right is ' Mosse 
Mokke,'*one of those hunginthe Jurnepin business,t 
face to face with an obvious large-nosed Jewess, 
* Avezardon,' while between them a horned demon, 
called * Colbie ' or ' Colbif,' is in the rudest way 
touching their noses, one with the forefinger of each 
hand. A Jew weighing money in scales has a devil 
behind him, blowing forked flame into his back ; while 

■ Misread by Mr. Mason as ' Nolle Mokke ' (Hist. Norf., p. 50). 
t Norf. Ant. Misc., i., p. 31S. 


52 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

on the right hand of the picture the fiend ' Dagon ' and 
a host of others are taking possession of a castle. 
The only other instance I have ever seen of this sort 
of early lampoon is on the Forest Roll for Essex,* 
where Lok, son of Aaron, is presented for an en- 
croachment on the forest of Essex, in 5 Edward I,, 
and the clerk has, in the margin of the roll, carried 
his pedigree up a step higher by writing, above a 
rather clever caricature of him, the words, ' Aaron, 
fil' Diaboli.' 

Passing now from the Jews, who were the innocent 
causes of the most important local disturbances in 
our early history, we come to the Monks and 
Citizens' Riot of 1272 ; but as this was purely a 
* town and gown ' row, and as I have treated on it 
at great length in the Norf. Ant. Misc., vol. ii., p. 
17-89, I need not discuss it again here. Next we 
had a branch of Wat Tyler's rebellion of 1381, 
which was begun in Suffolk by one John Wrawt 
(who is said to have received personal instructions 
from Tyler in London), but which is generally known 
as Litester's rebellion. Everj-one knows the story 
how the farmers of the poll-tax were opposed — first 
in Essex, where a judge sent to quell the mal- 
contents barely escaped with his life, and then more 
vigorously in Kent, where a collector was killed b}' 
Wat Tyler. The movement seems to have enlarged 
into one that ' no tenant should do service or custom 
to the lords.' 

° No. I, Exch. Treasury of Receipts. 

t There is nothing new under the sun, for here we have an 
early * Johnny Raw.' 

Persecutions and Risings. 

John the Litester, though stated by Froissart to 
have been a Staffordshire man, was no doubt, as 
Walsingham says, a Norwich dyer, and his three 
chief aiders were named ' Seth, Trunch, and Cubit.' 
Of these the first was, I apprehend, a man from 
Setchey, the chronicler's ' Sech ' being misread Seth, 
as Trunch no doubt was a man from that village. 
As to Cubit, it is a noteworthy thing that we find 
Roger Cobet accused of various extortions in the 
reign of Edward I.,"^ and that Roger Kybit, no doubt 
the same man, was in 1315 rated on the Subsidy Roll 
for Worstead, in which roll Ralph h Litester and 
Roger Ic Litester also occur as living in the same 
parish. It is probable, therefore, that John the 
Litester and Cubit were both sons of two Worstead 
neighbours, and this may possibly account for the 
rebels turning at last to East Norfolk. 

Be that as it may, the rising, whatever caused it, 
was sharply put down. At first the rioters had great 
success. The Earl of Suffolk was forced to fly in 
disguise ; and Litester, who captured certain of the 
gentry, made them his tasters and servers in a sort 
of mock court, in which the chief was called * King 
of the Commons.' Meanwhile, however, Henry le 
Spencer, Bishop of Norwich, grandson of the vile 
favourite of Edward IL, heard of the news while at 
' Burleigh House by Stamford town,'t then his 
mansion house — and having no reason to love the 

■" Rot. Hundred, i., p. 450. 

t If, indeed, as I suspect, he had not gone there from Norwich 
to gather his retainers and take the rebels in their rear. 

54 ^l Popular History of Norfolk:. 

commons of Norfolk after the corporeal thrashing: 
he had at their hands in Lynn in 1377 — gathered 
eight lances and a handful of archers, attacked and 
cut up an outlying party of the rebels at Cambridge, 
seized and beheaded some of the leaders at Ickling- 
ham, and coming on by Wymondham to Norwich, 
soon — nothing succeeding like success — had a strong 
following of the nobles and gentry. Meanwhile the 
insurgents had retired on North Walsham and 
Gimmingham, but, on the Bishop's forces moving 
on to Felmingham, they retreated to Thorpe Market, 
and then swinging round, entered North Walsham bj' 
the Antingham road, having thus to a certain extent 
turned the Bishop's flank. Here they entrenched 
themselves, and on the earth thrown out of their 
trench they piled up windows, shutters, doors, tables, 
and such like things, to make a barricade; while, as 
though to make their men fight more desperately, 
they blocked up their rear with their camp carts.* Of 
how their camp was stormed we know but little ; all 
we have is a few graphic sentences, in which the 
Bishop is described as, lance in hand, dashing on 
horseback over the trench, "grinding his teeth," and 
leading the forlorn hope over the barricade, sei-;iing 
Litester, sternly condemning him to death, then 
piously giving him absolution, and kindly holding up 
his head as he was dragged to an immediate gibbet ; 
but in spite of all kindness seeing him hanged, \evy 
tenderly but very efficaciously. A good bold soldier 

" Comp.ire the story of the Normans burning their ships 

before ILiitin.TS. 

Persecutions and Risings. 55 

this Spencer, but hardly our present idea of a Bishop 
or an honest man — possibly not as honest a man or 
as good a citizen as the hanged rebel — for afterwards 
we find him impeached and found guilty in Parlia- 
ment of accepting bribes from the French, and 
distinguishing himself by zealous persecution of the 

The scene of the massacre, and possibly of Lites- 
ter's execution, was on the Norwich side of North 
Walsham, whither, no doubt, most of the rebels were 
driven out by the Bishop's rush from the Antingham 
side of the town. The shaft of a stone cross still 
stands in the crook of the road to mark the spot. 

* They dew say a 'mazin' lot of men are buried in 
that pightle,' as a rustic told me once. 

The severe example made of the leaders, and most 
of the followers, of this rebellion did not deter others 
from trying again next year ; a scheme for rising at 
St. Faith's Fair, and seizing St. Bennet's Abbey as 
a rallying-point, only failing through the treachery 
of some of the conspirators. 

In 1442 the old feud between the monks and 
citizens broke out again — this time on the quarrel of 
the Abbot of Holm, who, claiming as owner of the 
Manor of Heigham, objected to the erection of the 

* New Mills,' alleging, untruly, that it hindered his 
waterway to his abbey, though the citizens had the 
obvious retort that there had been four mills across 
the river ever since the Conquest. It was said that the 

^" To this day the people of Ypres commemorate the deliver- 
ance of their city, in 13S3, from this warrior-prelate. 

56 A Popidar History of Norfolk. 

Mayor of Norwich and others were accused of declar- 
ing that they had power enough to stay the Bishop, 
the Abbot of Holm, and the Prior of Norwich ; 
and that one John Gladman (from whom this insur- 
rection is popularly called ' Gladman's Insurrection ') 
rode about the city with a paper crown on and a 
sceptre and sw^ord before him. They seem to have 
rung the bells and attacked the priory in a half- 
hearted way, for they never got inside its gates. The 
citizens' version of all this was that Gladman only 
rode about on a horse with tinfoil trappings, crowned 
as * King of Christmas,' with another clad as * Lent,' 
with white and red herring-skins, and his horse 
ornamented with oyster-shells, and that it was only 
through the malice of the Countess of Suffolk and 
Sir Thomas Tuddenham that their innocent ' mirth, 
disport, and plays ' were so misrepresented. 

It appears that the Countess, disguised as a 
country housewife, had gone with Sir Thomas and 
two others, also disguised, to Lakenham Wood, ' to 
take the air, and disport themselves beholding the 
city,' when some of the townsfolk, not knowing who 
they were, were extremely, though not unnaturally, 
rude to her. 

Ten years later (1452) we get the first inkling of 
the general unsatisfied feeling among the commoners 
which afterwards led to Rett's rebellion, for there 
was something of a gathering, though it came to 
nothing, in Postwick Wood, headed by one Roger 
Church, who suggested that a good name for their 
captain would be 'John Amend-all;' but Church 

Persecutions and Risings. 57 

seems to have had even more of the thief in 
him than is usual in patriots, and no head was 

Again, in 1454, we find twentj'' men, ' under colour 
of hunting,' breaking up the gates and closes of 
Osborn Moundeford at Braydeston, while twelve 
more, with bows bent and arrows ready in their 
hands, kept between the manor-house and the church 
from 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., apparently lying in wait for 
the servants, to prevent their interference. 

There was something brewing, too, in 1477, when 
John atte Wode promoted certain ' horrible treasons 
and conspiracies,' unluckily for him with the privity 
of one Robert Tomelynson, who informed, and was 
paid ^10 for his treachery. The Pilgrimage of 
Grace, in 1536, led to a small rising here in the fol- 
lowing year, the Sub-Prior of Walsingham and 
others planning to fire the beacons and journey north 
at the rate of twenty miles a day ; but this, too, was 
spoilt by informers, and five of the conspirators 
were executed. 

The temper was rising year by year. In 1540, one 
John Walker, of Griston, said, ' If three or four good 
fellows would ride in the night, with every man a 
bell, and cry in every town they passed through, ' To 
Swaifham ! To S waff ham 1' by the morning there 
would be ten thousand assembled at the least.' 
This intended rising was avowedly against the 
gentlemen. * It would be a good thing,' said he, * if 
there were only as many gentlemen in Norfolk as there 
were white bulls.' From after-results it is clear that 

58 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Walker was perilously near the truth as to the readi- 
ness to rise. 

For some time before 1549 the country was filled 
with strange rumours and quaint prophecies. La- 
bourers whispered to one another that better times 
were coming for their class, and that 

•The country gnoffes, Hob, Dick, and Hicl-^ 
With clubbs and clouted shoon, 
Shall fill the vale of Dussin's Dale 
With slaughtered bodies soon,' 

never thinking that this was a two-edged prophecy, 
which was in effect fulfilled by their filling the vale 
with their own bodies. 

Lingard, as of late Professor Rogers, has said that 
Rett's Rebellion had a religious origin ; the former 
so writing from religious bias, the latter, from 
ignorance. If ever there were a rising for purely 
personal grievances, this was one. The petition 
of the rebels to the King is extant, and it says no 
word about religion, except to ask that the priests 
may be resident in their parishes, and not living 
away as chaplains; and Princess Mary herself, writing 
from the spot, says that the rising was * touching no 
part of religion.' 

The real reasons for the insurrection, which did not 
originate with the very poor, for Rett, the moving 
spirit, was a man of substance and a landowner, 
are clearly enough to be gathered from the petition 
sent up to the Ring when the rebellion was at its 
height — a petition reasonable in nearly every parti- 
cular, and couched in language of studied moderation. 

Persecutions and Risings. 59 

Besides various clauses against enclosures, it asks 
redress against lords of manors who tried to make 
their freehold tenants pay their own * fee,' or head- 
rent, and castle-guard rent, or blanche-farm, which 
were obviously outgoings properly payable by the 
lords and not by the tenants. Again, it asks that 
all ' bondmen ' may be made free, ' for God made all 
free with His precious blood-shedding ;' that all 
rivers may be free and common to all men for fish- 
ing and passage ; that parsons shall be resident, 
and all having a benefice worth more than ^10 a 
year shall, by himself or deputy, teach the poor 
parish children the catechism and the primer; and, 
in the interests of their crops, that no one under a 
certain degree shall keep rabbits unless he ' paled ' 
them in, and that no new dove-houses should be 
allowed. Nothing could be more reasonable than 
all this, and the only unfair proposition seems to be 
that lords of manors should not be allowed to com- 
mon upon the wastes of their own manors. 

The sting of the whole thing was the demand for 
throwing open enclosures, made by lords of manors. 
of waste land* over which their tenants had com- 
monable rights. When we remember how London 
commons, like Wimbledon and Wandsworth, have, 
in the nineteenth century, in face of determined op- 

"^' The late Mr. Carthew thought the rising was caused by the 
enclosure of open fields over which the manor tenants had graz- 
ing and shackage rights during certain times of year : but this 
theory is untenable, for if any one tenant enclosed his land he 
lost his shackage rights over the rest of the land — which of course 
rose in value, being burdened by less cattle. 

6o A Popnlay History oj Norfolk. 

position, melted almost away under the liberal inter- 
pretation the lord took of his rights, we can hardly 
doubt how wholesale were the enclosures made by 
mediaeval lords, who had a hall-full of armed 
retainers, and a most profound contempt for their 
villeins and tenants. 

The story of the rising itself is soon told. The 
fences by which one Green of Wilby had enclosed 
part of Attleborough Common, were thrown down 
on the 20th June, 1549. 

Nothing more was done for more than a fortnight, 
when the commoners met at Wymondham, nomin- 
ally to a ' play,' held there in commemoration of the 
translation of St. Thomas a Becket, and pulled down 
some more hedges at Morley, and soon afterwards 
some more at Hethersett, belonging to Serjeant 
Flowerdew. Now it happened that he was at feud 
with the Ketts,* who had also enclosed, and, irate at 
his hedges being destroyed, bribed the insurgents to 
destroy Rett's only. Those he had bribed seem to 
have gone off straight to Kett, who not only agreed 
to his own enclosures being levelled, but joined 
heartily in the levelling himself, and then — it is 
amusing to see how the personal spite comes in 
again — led them again to Flowerdew's, and ruined 
all the rest of his hedges, to his intense annoyance, 

* The Kelts were an old and fairly wealthy Wyndham family. 
What little is known of them is not altogether in their favour. 
Thomas Kett, in 1570, betrayed the conspiracy against the 
Norwich Strangers, and Francis Kett was burnt, in the Armada 
year, for blaspheming Christ. 

Persecutions a7id Risings. 6i 

he breaking out into violent abuse of Kett and his 

Kett then led his men on via Cringleford to Bow- 
thorpe, where the High Sheriff boldly rode up to 
them, proclaimed them rebels, and commanded them 
to go home, but had to ride for his life, for they tried 
to seize him. 

They pulled down the hedge of the ' Town Close,'* 
belonging to the poor freemen of Norwich, and began 
to look out for a place to pitch their camp in. Eaton 
Wood was found unsuitable, so the}- determined to 
make for the high ground of Household Heath, on 
the other or north side of the city. They asked the 
Mayor for leave to march through the city peaceably, 
and, on their being refused, widened Hellisdon 
Bridge, and took up a temporary position on the 
high ground at Drayton, moving thence to Mouse- 
hold Heath next day, and there pitched their camp. 
Simultaneously, or nearly so, lesser camps were 
formed at Rising Chase and at Downham, near which 
latter place was lately an oak, called Rett's Oak; 
but these gatherings came to nothing, and need not 
be mentioned further. 

Much has been made of Kett giving licenses to his 
followers to provide and bring in cattle and victuals 
to his camp ; but it is obvious that if his rising was 
excusable, his men had to be fed somehow. Sixteen 
thousand men were now entrenched on Mousehold, 
ordnance and provisions were being brought in from 
Paston Hall, Yarmouth, and even Lynn ; and as days 

* Up the Newmarket Road. 

62 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

wore on it looked as though the King's Council — who 
certainly had enough already on their hands with 
half-a-dozen minor risings — did not care to try to 
crush this important one. 

The insurgents blockaded the city, though they did 
not actually take possession of it, and levied black-mail 
right and left. On the 21st July, the King sent a 
herald offering pardon to all who laid down their 
arms and went home, an offer which was met by Kett 
fiercely replying that ' Kings were wont to pardon 
wicked persons, not innocent and just men ;' and the 
herald had to sharp shift to get back to the 
city, accompanied by the Mayor and one Aldrich, 
who had been constrained hitherto to countenance 
the rebels in the hopes of keeping them within 
bounds. That night the Mayor and citizens seem 
to have fully expected an assault from the country 
rebels. They ' rampired ' Bishop's Gate, by which 
I expect is meant that they filled up the arch of the 
gate, which once stood on Bishop's Bridge, with 
earth. A piece of ordnance was mounted on the 
old common staith-yard, and was watched by the 
two Appleyards, while two great pieces, and some 
iron pieces belonging to Sir William Paston, were 
sent to the castle. 

The next day the rebels came trooping down the 
hill from ' Kett's Castle ' to Bishop's Bridge, and 
though suffering severely from arrows shot from 
within, took to the river and drove the unskilled 
gunners from their posts, and seized the city at 
considerable loss to themselves, but little to the 

Persecutions and Risings. 63 

defenders. The * ordnance ' seemed singularly poor, 
the powder being either so scarce or so weak that 
* the shot followed not.' 

Kett then seized the Mayor (Codd) and other of the 
chief citizens, and kept them prisoners in the camp ; 
and the grim joke was soon put about that anyone 
coming to Household would soon get a Cod's head 
for a penny ; but after all, at Aldrich's intercession he 
was let out again. 

At last the King's army, under the Marquis of 
Northampton, and numbering about 2,500 men 
— many of whom were Italian mercenaries, under 
one Mala Testa — arrived at St. Stephen's Gate, and 
were warmly welcomed by the loyal citizens. Skir- 
mishing at once, some of the Italians got the worst 
of it, and one of them was captured, stripped of his 
costly armour, and hung upon an oak, though as 
much as ;^ioo was offered for his ransom. 

In the night the rebels made another and very 
determined rush at the city. On the one side they 
destroyed Pockthorpe and Magdalen Gates, w^hile on 
the other they burnt St. Stephen's ; but though they 
fought like fiends, as even their enemies admitted, 
they met different men this time, and were driven 
back with great loss. Early in the morning they 
tried again, this time through the Hospital Meadows ; 
and there in the plain, by the Palace Gates, they 
met the King's men again, but with better luck, for 
overpowering them by numbers, they slew Lord Shef- 
field on the spot — where there still stands a stone 
with * S ' on it — and fairly drove the troops out of the 

64 A Popular History of Norfolk, 

city. This was on the ist August. On the 3rd the 
bad news had reached London, and the Council at 
once wrote to the Earl of Shrewsbur}' to be ready to 
march on Norwich instantly. Then on the loth the 
Duke of Somerset was named commander; and lastly, 
on the i6th, the Earl of Warwick. 

It was not till the 23rd, so cautious were the 
King's troops after the bitter lesson they had had, 
that they reached the vicinity of Norwich. Terms 
were again offered to the rebels, and at one time 
Kett seemed disposed to accept them and chance 
the royal mercy, but was apparently over-persuaded 
by his own men, and the fight began by the King's 
troops breaking into the city by * Brazen Gates ' 
and St. Stephen's. A curious mistake of Warwick's 
men (who were not the first, and probably will not be 
the last, to be confused by the intricacies of Norwich 
streets) gave the rebels a great advantage, for the 
drivers of some of his ammunition waggons lost their 
way, and instead of turning up into the Market 
Place, blundered straight on by Tombland and St. 
Martin's Palace plain over Bishop's Bridge, right 
into the very hands of the rebels, who received them 
with thanks. One Captain Drury, who seems to 
have been the capable man, or * only general,' of the 
day, cut in upon them and saved something, but 
with loss of some of his men. 

Next day the rebels made head in Tombland, and 
sent out parties to various points of vantage, such as 
the corner of Elm Hill and the corner of St. 
Andrew's Hall, and got the best of a slight skirmish ; 

Pcrsecttlions and Risings. 65 

upon which Warwick, whose headquarters were in 
the Market Place, came down in full force by St. 
John Maddermarket, only to be met by a ' mighty 
force of arrows as flakes of snow in a tempest.' But 
the capable Captain Drury coming up with his 
trained arquebusiers, repaid their * flakes of snow ' 
with * a storm of hayle,' shot so low and so true that 
it turned the fortune of the skirmish. One is apt to 
think little of the execution of the murder-weapons 
of our ancestors, but in this short affair, which took 
place in perhaps an acre of ground, three hundred 
and twenty men were killed, and many others, 
* found creeping in the churchyards and under the 
walls,' were knocked on the head afterwards. 

Intending to follow up his advantage on the follow- 
ing day, Warwick sent ordnance and stores outside 
the city walls ready for use against Household, but, 
with incredible carelessness, left them guarded by 
some Welshmen only. The chief rebel gunner, see- 
ing his opportunity, laid a gun so truly that he shot 
the King's master-gunner, who, I suppose, was left 
in charge of his cannon, and then, with some of his 
followers, came running fast down the hill to secure 
their plunder, but did not run as fast as the Welsh — a 
disgrace to the inhabitants of the Principality, which 
they felt so strongly that the authorities mutilated 
nearly every known copy of Neville's ' De Furoribus 
Norf.,' by cutting out the four pages (131-134) which 
told the story of their disgrace. Once more Captain 
Drury appeared on the scene, and saved some of 
the cannon. 

66 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

The ordnance thus gained was mounted above the 
city on the hill above Bishop's Bridge (a modern ten- 
pounder there now would bring the city to its senses 
in ten minutes), and was served so well that it prac- 
tically commanded Bishop's Bridge, and battered 
down a great part of the Cow Tower hard by, as 
we see it to this day. 

The next day was Sunday — and the sorest Sunday 
Norwich ever saw. By this time all ideas of right or 
wrong — of grievance or redress — had been lost sight 
of. The two sides had been fighting long enough to 
hate one another, and the rebels were getting into 
the city on every side except Bishop's Bridge. King 
Street was on fire, and the citizens were begging 
Warwick to go away lest a worst thing should befall 
them, and the White Friars Bridge had to be broken 
down to keep the rebels out. 

On the Monday, however, came in a reinforcement 
of 1,100 Landknechts — a different variety of mer- 
cenaries — who fired volleys to announce their coming. 
The rebels struck their camp on Mousehold, and 
moved to ' Dussin's Dale,' apparently believing it was 
the place named in the prophecy cited before. This 
change being notified to Warwick bv the watchman 
on the cathedral spire, he sallied with his thousand 
' Almaines ' and all his horse. Captain Drury, of 
course, charging in the van. 

At the onset, Myles, the same rebel gunner who 
had shot so straight before, knocked over the King's 
standard-bearer and his horse with one shot, but he 
was but one against a thousand, and a thousand 

PersectUions and Risings. 67 

trained arquebusiers sent in a withering volley — 
and the whole thing was over. 

It was the old story of untrained men fighting 
gallantly and well in narrow streets and lanes, and 
over-appalled when they found themselves butchered 
wholesale in the open. They ran away, and small 
blame to them ; but if the affair had taken place on 
the slope, between Ber Street and King Street and 
the river, I fancy more mercenaries' bodies would 
have been found in the water than Norwichers. As 
it was, about 3,500 of them were simply murdered, 
and the cruelty and the carnage was so great that at 
last they stood together in confused groups, and pick- 
ing up their dead companions' weapons determined 
to die fighting. So bold a front they made, that 
Warwick rode up to them himself and personally 
promised them safety. Kett, with five or six men, 
rode away, but was caught, hung, drawn, and 
quartered.* He had played for too high a stake 
— probably he had been forced into doing so — but 
one cannot sympathize with him, for he was an 
' encloser ' himself, who sought to make capital out 
of sudden ratting. He has been called a coward for 
running away from the fight when it was lost, but he 
simply took the slight chance left him of saving his 
life ; and, at all events, he did not grovel for mercy 
just before execution, as Warwick himself did four 
years later. 

* It is curious that the precept to bring him up for trial was 
signed by Sir Richard Lyskr, possibly a descendant of his pre- 
decessor in rebellion. 


68 A Pop7ilar History of Norfolk. 

Warwick was hailed as a deliverer by the citizens, 
who never having had much sympathy with the 
county men, now hated them for their city ruined 
and their houses despoiled. Everywhere the War- 
wick badge — the ' ragged staff' — was set up at doors. 
Its retention outside Bacon's house, in Colegate 
Street, gave offence to men smarting under the 
suppression ;* but it was in Norwich quite recently, 
for the sign of the ' Bear and the Ragged Staff' hung 
out in Fisher's Lane only the other day. 

Captain Drury, however — the real competent man 
on the King's side — mercenary though he was, who 
lost 60 out of his little band of 180, had to wait for 
his money ; and was ultimately only paid 3^272 for 
the services of himself and his 120 living and 60 
dead men ! They did things cheaper and better then 
than we do nowadays in the East. 

It was long before Kett was forgotten. He had 
cost the country ;f28,i22 7s. 7d. of the then money 
to put down, besides all the waste and spoil during 
the rebellion ; and when Warwick came down east 
four years later, as Duke of Northumberland, in 
Lady Jane's interest, it was the hatred with which 
he was hated by the commoners that made it so 
easy a job for the Catholic gentry to put Mary on 
the throne. It is a singular coincidence that Kett 
held Wyndham Manor of the very man who de- 
feated him. 

There was a rumour of a rebellion brewing in 
1553, when 5,000 men were said to be about to rise 
• Blom Norf., iii., p. 257. 

Persecutions and Risings. 69 

and rendezvous at Wisbeach, intending to camp at 
Tylney Smeath, capture the gentlemen and hold them 
hostages till the Queen gave them redress ; but 
nothing came of it. 

The Harleston rising of 1570, sometimes called 
Redman's Conspiracy, was really a trade-union riot, 
aimed against the * strangers,' viz., the industrious 
Dutch and Walloons, whose skill and industry after- 
wards revivified the city ; but it was betrayed by 
Thomas Kett, a kinsman to the late rebel, and three 
of the conspirators were hung, and no harm done, 
luckily, to our visitors. With this practically ends 
our intestine troubles. There were little risings at 
Aylsham and Norwich during the Civil War, but 
these I shall touch in my sixth chapter. 



IN dramatic contrast to Elizabeth's first 
visit to Norfolk was her second, when 
she made her stately progress through 
the county in 1578. When Sir Henry 
Bedingfield brought her prisoner to Oxburgh, he 
kept her under the closest and most offensive 
supervision, for when on the journey she wanted to 
see a game at chess played out, he would not let her 
do so ; and when her hood blew off he made her put 
it on under a hedgerow, refusing to let her go 
into a house to adjust her finery. Well might she 
tell him afterwards with grim humour that whenever 
she wanted to have a state prisoner hardly handled 
and strictly kept, she would send for him. 

We have the fullest account of Elizabeth's re- 
ception in Norwich, and of the stilted addresses 
which were made to her, in a rare little contemporary 
work, ' Queen Elizabeth's Progress in Norwich,' by 
B. G [oldingham] and T. C [hurchyard]. Everything 
was cleared up and beautified regardless of expense. 

The Norfolk of Elizabeth. 71 

The narrow way down St. John's Maddermarket — 
then the chief thoroughfare from the market-place to 
the Duke of Norfolk's house — was widened, by 
cutting away a great piece of the churchyard, which 
accounts for the church now literally abutting on the 
street. No tallow was to be melted, no scourer was 
to use wash, the muck-hills at Brazendoors were 
cleared away, and St. Giles's Gate was widened. 
Two thousand five hundred horsemen rendezvoused 
apparently at the Earl of Surrey's house, at Kenning- 
hall, to do her honour, while sixty of the * most comely 
bachelors ' of the city — compulsorily taxed for their 
comeliness — being dressed in black satin doublets 
(at their own expense by order of the city), met her 
at Hartford Bridge, where they made her the first 
oration of welcome. At the Town Close another of 
the band, dressed up as King Gurguntius, the fabled 
founder of Norwich and builder of * Blancheflower,' 
was ready for her with oration No. 2. The city 
waits were * waiting ' at St. Stephen's Gate for her 
with oration or poem No. 3, while further down a tur- 
banedboyona platform orated her for the fourth time; 
and some delicate music was being performed, when 
some lusty ringers — can one doubt they were under 
St. Peter's bell sollar ? — crashed in so loudly with a 
joy-peal that they drowned the music. In connection 
with the * Artizan Strangers Pageant ' in St. Stephen's, 
it is needless to say there was another oration (No. 5) ; 
but the show itself must have been rather an interest- 
ing one, for perched on a large platform there were 
representatives of all the different manufactures of 

72 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

the city, with eight little girls busy spinning worsted 
on one side, and eight more knitting it on the other. 
In the market-place there was pageant No. 2 and 
oration No. 6 (over 200 lines this time !), and then a 
song ; after which the wearied Queen escaped to her 
lodgings in the Bishop's Palace, and to deserved rest. 
It is not to be wondered at that she did not come 
out of doors all day Sunday. On the Monday a 
gilded coach came tearing up to the Bishop's gates, 
drawn by galloping horses with their hides painted 
over, and with artificial wings stuck on their backs, 
carrying a ' trumpet ' sounding, and a boy dressed up 
as Mercury, who jumped out and inflicted on her an 
unmercifully long speech. It must have been a relief 
for her to go out, after the rain, into the fresh air on 
the Tuesday to Cossey, for some of the tame-deer 
shooting of which she was so fond, though she was 
intercepted by some pseudo-heathen tomfoolery in 
the streets. The Dutch Church gave her a £'^0 cup 
and a Latin oration, and so the thing went on day 
by day. It would be useless to try to describe all 
the grovelling rubbish that was put before her, and 
one reads with some little satisfaction how a lot of the 
mummers were caught in a deluge of rain, and were 
drenched and their finery spoiled. Who can tell, 
says the chronicler, what the city lost in velvets, 
silks, tinsel, and cloth of gold on that occasion ! 
They were going to orate her once more as she was 
leaving, but she apparently thought this was a little 
too much, for when Mr, Mayor brake [it gently] to 
the Lord Chamberlain that he was to utter to her 

The Norfolk of Elizabeth. y$ 

Majesty another oration, he * was willed to forbear 
the utterance of the same his oration,' the Queen 
graciously accepting the MS. instead, which no doubt 
was put to some laudable cuHnary, or other, use, later 
in the day. 

From Norwich she went to the Woodhouses' at 
Kimberley ; then to the Cleres' at Woodrising ; then 
to Blickling, her ancestral home on her mother's 
side ; and then back into Suffolk, and I do not think 
ever re-visited the county. 

Among the places at which she had been enter- 
tained in Norwich, was at the Earl of Surrey's house 
— * Mount Surrey,' at Mousehold Heath — a place 
which she must have viewed with extreme interest, 
on account of the tragedy of nearly thirty years be- 
fore. From the walls of this very house, it will be 
remembered, one of the foreign mercenaries had 
been hung, after having been uncased of his costly 
armour. I expect the reason she was entertained 
at Mount Surrey, instead of the old Duke's Palace, 
was that the latter was not then grand enough for 
the purpose. It was not till 1602 that the Duke's 
Palace was begun, when for fifty years and r.iore the 
masons were kept at work on it, till it became 
probably one of the most magnificent buildings in 
England. Everything was of the most expensive 
character (the very fire-shovels being of silver); 
and as it had great dancing-rooms to fill, three 
* coaches,' the prototype of our present busses — for 
they held fourteen — were sent out every afternoon to 
fetch the ladies of the neighbourhood. Out by Conis- 

74 ^ Popular History of Norfolk 

ford Gates, at the end of King Street, were outlying 
gardens, belonging to the palace, of great magnifi- 
cence and extent, stretching along the river, with 
walks forty feet wide. No wonder its owner, when 
he was here in his tennis-court, thought himself, as 
he boasted when he defended his possible match 
with Mary of Scots, as good as a Scotch King — a 
boast which availed him, by the way, as little as that 
of his predecessor Bigod, when he talked of not 
caring for the King of Cokenay when he was in his 
castle of Bungay. 

Reverting, however, to Queen Elizabeth, her 
feelings, when in Norfolk in 1578, must have been 
somewhat mixed. On her mother's side she was 
herself of Norfolk descent, through the Boleyns, 
a family inferior as far as blood was concerned to 
probably every squire who did her homage ; for the 
Boleyns were nouveaiix riches only, her ancestor being 
but a London merchant, and the older pedigree 
usually ascribed to them a fabrication.* When she 
revisited Blickling, the memory of the shameful deaths 
of her mother and uncle must have haunted her. 
While at * Mount Surrey,' her host and she cannot 
but have thought of their common kinswoman, 

* Hepworth Dixon, in his ' History of Two Queens,' vol. i., 
p. 362, says that the I5oleyns were ' a family of French descent, 
who came to London for the sake of trade.' I should have liked 
a better authority than this writer, whose inaccuracy is notori- 
ous ; but on this occasion I think he was right. The Boleyns 
and the Cleres (both of Blickling) were intermarrying just about 
the time the ridiculous forged coats of Clere of Cleremount were 
put up in Blickling Church. This is suspicious. 

The Norfolk of Elizabeth. 75 

Catherine Howard, and her end ; and it would have 
been strange if the appearance, at the local Court, of 
some Appleyard or Robsart did not bring back to 
her startled mind her share in the murder of Amy 
Robsart, the unlucky Norfolk girl who stood between 
her and Leicester. 

The brightest page in our local history during this 
reign is undoubtedly that which records the unswerv- 
ing and statesmanlike support Elizabeth's coun- 
cillors gave to the * strangers,' or foreign settlers, 
whose pageant to welcome her I have just men- 

It has been conjectured* that this was not the 
first time that foreigners had settled in Norfolk, and 
taught us the way to use our wool ; but I have as 
yet discovered no evidence in support of the guesses 
to the effect that they settled at Worstead about 
1336, or that they discovered fuller's-earth here 
The subsidy-rolls of i and 6 Edw. III., a" few years 
only before this, show no signs of foreign names. 
As to the friendly invasion of 1565 there can, how- 
ever, be no doubt ; for many — of whom the most 
were Dutch, though some were Walloons or French, 
all of whom had been driven out of the Low 
Countries by the Duke of Alva — settled here, and 
introduced the making of ' bayes, sayes, arras, 
mockades, and such like,' to the great advantage of 
the city and the encouragement of its trade. The 

* Blom. Norf., iii., p. 83. 

t Blomefield says 3,000, but there were only 1,132 in 1569. 

76 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Dutch had the choir of the Friars Preachers, now 
St. Andrew's Hall, and the French or Walloons the 
decayed church of St. Mary-the-Less, on Tombland, 
assigned to them as places of worship. The Dutch 
congregation still hangs together nominally, for it 
has a little property, and one sermon a year is 
preached to it by the chaplain to the Netherlands 
Embassy, but the Walloon congregation became 
extinct in 1836. Both the Dutch and the Walloon 
settlers were supported by the mayors and by the 
Duke of Norfolk for some time, and seem to have 
lived at peace with the townsfolk, till there was an 
attempt on the part of Thomas Whalle, the Mayor 
in 1567, to have them ejected. He did contrive to 
put them under several irksome rules — such as that 
they should lodge no stranger for more than one 
night, nor walk in the streets after St. Peter Man- 
croft's bell had sounded ; and, two years later, he 
reported to the Privy Council that there were 
continual disputes between the strangers — then 
numbering 1,132 — and the townspeople. On this, 
the Council prohibited any more settling there ; and 
in 1570 there was a conspiracy, usually called 
Appleyard's Conspiracy, to expel all the strangers 
from the country ; but this being sharply put down, 
the animus against them seems to have gradually 
passed away, and the industrious settlers waxed 
wealthy and important, till at last one of them — 
Elisha Phillippo — was made Sheriff of Norfolk in 
1674, though even as late as 1682 fresh immigrations 
provoked fresh riots. 

The Norfolk of Elizabeth. 'jy 

In 1571, the strangers numbered 3,925 all told; 
and ten years after their first coming, they received 
a very good character * for industry, and especially 
for that * they live wholly of themselves without our 
charge, and do beg of no man, and do sustain all 
their own people.' In 1582 their numbers had 
risen to 4,679, and in a very few generations they 
had practically amalgamated with the townsfolk. 
Among other benefits they conferred on the city was ^^U; 
the introduction of printing, the first Norwich book 
being printed by ' Anthony Solen, prynter,' in 1570. \ 
His real name was Anthonius de la Solemne, ' Tipo- 
graphus,' and he came from Brabant in 1567 with 
his wife and two children. 

We may make an easy guess, and suppose that he 
was not unknown to * Anthonius Rabat bibliopola 
cum uxore et pueris in Anglia natis [qui] hue ex 
Flandria venit 1567 ;' or to Cornelius Van Hille, 
* bibliopola,' who came in the same year ; or Petrus 
Jass, ' bibliopola,' who came from Zealand in 1562. 

It is, of course, difficult to say what proportion of 
the present population of Norwich is descended 
from those Dutch and Walloon strangers of three 
centuries ago. Their names slid easily into Enghsh 
equivalents — De Witt becomes White, and Le Brun, 
Browne, as in the case of H. K. Browne's ancestor. 
Of the French-Walloons we know, of course, of the 
Martineaus, and there is little difficulty in identifying 
the names of De Carle, De Caux, Le Fevere (de) 
* Dom. S. P. Eliz.jvol. xx,, No. 49. 

yS A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Lawn, Goddard (Godart), Fremault, Orfeur, Phillipo, 
and Philoe. 

There are many more of the Dutch recognisable. 
Of course one could not expect that the descendants 
of Gerardus Callus would consent to be held up to 
perpetual derision by adhering to their patronymic ; 
but those of Boos Gallant would naturally cling to 
what was a complimentary epithet in their adopted 
land. Some, of course, were more tenacious, and 
Cornelius Vandcr Goez and Cristianus Rumpf were 
happy in being the progenitors of the Norwich 
printers who are not ashamed to worthily bear to 
this day the unpleasant surnames of Goose and 
Rump. Such corruptions as Muskett, from Mos- 
quaert, are obvious enough ; but one can only guess 
at what foreign names supplied the extraordinary 
forms of Hipgame and Copperwheat. 

Of the identities of the following there can be 
httle doubt. Those in the second column are names 
of persons now living in Norwich, and nearly all are 
to be found in White's Directory of the year 1883. 

Aelman . 



I Daynes 

Aert . . 




Allardi . 




Bateman . 


Godardus . 




Godscale . 


Bois du . 


Goe2 . . 





1 Gomcr 



Gros . . 


Case . . 




Crucius . 

Du Croz 

Heyden . 

Hay den 

Denijs . . 


Kcerlc . . 


Dentc, Le 




The Norfolk of Elizabeth. 79 

Los . . . 



Raby (?) 

M eys . . 


Ram de . 


IMins . . 


Raet . . 


Moes . . 

Morse (?) 



RIol . . 


Rey, Van . 





Rickwood (?) 



Roller . . 


Mote . . 


Roode, De 


Pedue . . 




Poullois . 


Testardus . 


Pres . . 


Thornius . 


Quene . . 



Tuck (?) 

It has only just struck me, as I was writing the 
above, that it is very probable that the great hearti- 
ness with which the Norwich people joined in pre- 
paring to meet the Spanish Armada may have been 
due in some measure to their having among them so 
many of those who had personally suffered from 
Spanish persecution. They would hardly be at all 
backward with money, or trouble to help to repel 
those under whose hands they had already smarted. 

In 1571 the Spaniards had been invited to invade 
Scotland, and when — directly after the massacre of 
St. Bartholomew — in the following year it seemed as 
though England was to be threatened by a Catholic 
combination, orders were sent down to each county 
for a return to be immediately made of all the ' able 
and chosen men ' who could be ready upon * a 
se'nnighte's warninge,' and what armour was avail- 
able for them. Norfolk's return was a prompt and 
satisfactory one, viz., 7,600 men — without reckoning 
Norwich, and probably Lynn — 440 'harquibutters,' 
1,260 archers, 1,300 pikemen, and 4,600 billmen. 

8o A Popular History of Norfolk. 

There was plenty of munitions for them too, viz., 
700 'harquebutts, qual3rvers, and curriors,' 1,500 long- 
bows, 530 corslets, and 2,200 almayn rivets, brigan- 
dynes, and coats of plate. The force was divided 
into companies, under the charge of certain captains, 
some of whom had 300, some 200, and some 100 

Early next year other returns were ordered of all 
men over sixteen, able to bear and use arms, and of 
horses available for war. The reply shows 8,215 
footmen, 28 demi-lances, and 184 light horse or 
geldings. By 1577 the numbers had grown greatly 
with the growing need. There were then 12,032 ' able 
men ' available, of whom 123 were wheelwrights, 
308 were smiths, and 2,453 pioneers and labourers, 
leaving 9,148 fighting men. The long-bow men had 
increased in number to 2,045, and there were 1,961 
sheaves of arrows for them ; while 500 * shott ' or 
marksmen with harquebusse, etc., were being 
specially trained and exercised, and most of them 
were found 'very apt and handsome for that pur- 
pose,' and all unlawful games were stopped so as to 
give more time for archery-practice. 

Norwich had its separate train-bands, and in 1578 
found eighty * calyver ' men, who had two days' firing- 
practice at a *hoffe' (butt) of boards on Mousehold 
Heath ;* and during this course of musketry instruction 
they were paid 8d. a day, and their captain 40s. In 
1580 the county return shows its force kept up, there 
being 9,260 horse and foot, and the subsequent replies 
* Where the Norwich volunteers still practise. 

The Norfolk of Elizabeth. 8 1 

are equally satisfactory. By 1584 it would seem that 
the danger was getting so near that 2,000 men were 
to be levied and reduced into bands, apparently to 
be always ready, and not only at a week's notice, and 
each Hundred had to collect money for powder, 
match, and lead. Some directions given in the Sep- 
tember of this year to the Norwich men are curious. 

The demi-lances and light horse were to- muster 
near Magdalen Chapel on Mousehold Heath, on the 
5th October, at eight a.m. Each demi-lance was to 
bring an entire trotting horse or long-trotting gelding, 
with a strong leather harness, and either a steel or a 
very strong bolstered saddle ; and himself to be armed 
with demi-lance, armour, staff, sword and dagger, 
and battle-axe : while each light-horseman was to 
have a staff, a case of pistols, sword and dagger, 
jack or coat of plate, skull-cap with covered cheeks, 
or burgonet with a corselet. His doublet-sleeves 
were to be struck down with some small chain or 
plate — no doubt to prevent his bridle-arm being dis- 
abled — and his gelding was to be ridden with a 
snaffle, and to have a light saddle, * after the manner 
of the longest Northern light-horsemen' — the Border- 
riders — with a case of daggers at it. 

As we get on the interest increases, and the entries 
grow more numerous. A fortress is to be built at a 
place called Crotche, near Lynn, and fortifications 
were ordered also at Weybourne Hoop, Sherringham 
Hithe, Mundesly, Bromholm, Winterton, and Yar- 
mouth. The county watched the beacons nightly, and 
begged thirty pieces of ordnance from the Council. 


82 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Weybourne had always been thought a weak spot 

on the English coast, for its shore shelves so rapidly 

that ships of war could ride almost up to it. The 

old prophecies of a previous reign talked of how a 

king should land on the north coast at Weybourne 

Stone, and fight such a battle between Weybourne 

and Branksbrim, that blood should run from there 

to Crome Bridge. There was, too, the old rhyme, 

' He who would Old England win, 
Must at Weybourne Hoop begin.' 

In March, 1588, three ships were seen taking 
soundings off Yarmouth ; and in April, Lynn wrote 
up to the Council that it was fitting out the May- 
flower, 150 tons, and a pinnace of 40 tons. Is it 
not within the bounds of possibility that the May- 
flower, which did its part in defending England from 
its enemies, may, thirty-two years later, have carried 
the Pilgrim Fathers to America ? Ships were stoutly 
built in those days; Boston is only just across the 
water from Lynn, and the old ship may easily have 
changed hands from one port to another.* 

To come back, however, to the spring of 1588. In 
April the ' Queen's General ' came down to Norwich 
to judge how we were getting on, and was heartily 
welcomed, a gilt cup being given him, and great 
ordnance shot off in his honour in the Castle Yard ; 
and there was ' skirmishing ' on Mousehold, no doubt 
under his supervision, and a second muster. The 
armourer and his men were paid for working thirty- 

* The tonnage of the celebrated Mayflower is said to have 
been 180 ; but I do not suppose tonnage was very accurately 
measured in those da\ s. 

The Norfolk of Elizabeth. 83 

two days and nights (suggestive, this), repairing, 
amending, and fitting armour. From the 12th to 
20th May armour and arms were bought as quick as 
might be. Two loads of pikes and halberds sent 
from London to Yarmouth were brought up river to 
Norwich. A special messenger was sent to the 
Council, sitting at Greenwich, to beg for powder and 
great ordnance — Norwich voted ^f 100 for gunpowder, 
some is stored in the hospital (the bane and the 
antidote together), and everything is ready. 

At last — in July — the Armada came, but it was 
beaten long before some of its remnants sailed along 
our coast in ruinous flight to the Orkneys in August. 
Possibly by way of precaution, on the 24th, 300 
soldiers were sent from Norwich to Yarmouth in 
three keels.* A Lynn man, who brought the good 
news to Norwich of the ' meeting of the Spaniards 
on the seas by the Queen's fleet,' was paid 5s. ; and 
the ringers of St. Peter Mancroft had 3s. for * ring- 
ing on the tryumfing day had of the Spanyards,' by 
the Mayor's command, and 2s. 4d. for ringing on the 
* victory day that the Lord gave us over the Span- 
yards,' as appointed by the Queen — and that was all 
we had to do with the great scare of the sixteenth 
century. But I venture to think that the ' country 
gnoffes,' who had fought so desperately against 
trained soldiers in Rett's rebellion, would, side by 
side with the persecuted ' strangers ' they had 
harboured, have rendered as good an account of any 

*■ ' Keels ' were the precursors of our present wherries, from 
which they differed in their rig. See Chapter XIV 

6— J 

84 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

reasonable number of Spaniards who might have 
landed on the Yarmouth denes, as they did of the 
mercenaries in Norwich streets in 1549. 

Three years later the danger was practically over, 
and the county muster was allowed to fall from the 
9,260 of the last return, to 4,574, and gradually fell 
away to next to nothing till the Civil War trouble, 
mentioned in the next chapter, began. 

A curious side of home life in this reign was the 
way in which pirates seem to have always been 
' hanging ' about the coast, though perhaps not in 
the way those they robbed would have wished. In 
1577, a Scotch trader from Aberdeen was taken in 
' Laystoft ' Roads by one Captain Phibson ; and soon 
after a regular Commission had to be sent down as 
to piracy, who made a formal return as to the 
offences and names of the pirates and their aiders in 
this county. The next year the bailiffs of Yarmouth 
caught the pirate named Thomas Hitchcock, and he 
was examined there as to his spoiling two Scottish 
ships in 1574. Another — Arthur Michelson — was 
caught at Lynn the same year, and in 1579 one 
Captain Belhngham seems to have been busy ; and 
we catch another glance at Captain Phibson ; and we 
hear of cloths, stolen on the seas, being landed and 
fraudulently concealed in the house of Mr. Dcbdin, 
at Somerton. This last man's name was sometimes 
spelt Dibden, and in 1579 he himself is called a pirate.* 
It is not a Norfolk name, so perhaps he was an 
ancestor of Dibden, whose love of the sea and a 
roving life may have been hereditary. 

* Dom. S. P., cxxxi., No. 36. 


norfolk's part in the 


T is somewhat singular tiiat, in one sense 
of the word, the Civil War owed its 
origin to the Yarmouth fishing-boats, for 
it is said that it was to protect them and 
the coast trade generally that the expedient of levy- 
ing ' ship-money ' was hit upon. The Dunkirkers 
had been scouring the coast for some years. Before 
1628 they had actually landed in Tunstead, and the 
North Sea fishing fleet did not dare to sail without 
an armed convoy. When the fish was caught it 
could not be sent down to London, nor could the 
corn, or the butter, or the cheese. Even when the 
Commonwealth was in full force, it was said that 
* the Dunkirkers and Ostenders know the Norfolk 
coast so well that they chase and plunder and take 
us in our own bay.' 

It was, therefore, no mere excuse to say that ships 
of war were urgently needed ; and if there had been 
any certainty that the money raised ostensibly for 

86 A Popiilar History of Noi'/olk. 

their supply would have been truly spent in providing 
them, few Englishmen would have grudged the pay- 
ment, the more especially as there was plenty of 
precedent for it. That there was some genuine 
shipbuilding done is clear, for we find the Justices 
of Norfolk directed, in May, 1638, to convey 800 loads 
of timber for the frame of the ship called the Prince. 

In Norfolk, however, as everywhere else, the diffi- 
culty of levying the rate was immense. Constables 
of Hundreds refused to distrain for arrears, and 
excuses on excuses were made to the Sheriffs — one 
of whom wrote pitifully to the Privy Council that he 
' has become the most odious, despicable man in the 

When the storm broke, probably no county was 
warmer in favour of the Commonwealth than Nor- 
folk. Hardly a hand was held up for the King. The 
same sturdy, independent blood that had fought so 
stoutly for its rights under Litester and Kett, had 
long chafed under the growing arbitrariness of the 
Government ; and some of those in whose veins it 
ran had already emigrated, notably many from 
Hingham, whose colony of the same name is now 
well known. It was a Norfolk member (Sir Miles 
Hobart) who shut and locked the door of the House 
when the King sent the Captain of his Guard to 
force it and bring away the mace ; and so strong was 
the Parliamentarian majority in the east, that in 
1642 it constituted itself into an * Association,' 
which comprised Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, 
and Herts, which was joined next year by Huntings 

NorfolISs Part in the ' Eastern Association' 87 

don and Lincoln, with tho result of not only keeping:: 
the war almost wholly out of its boundaries, but of 
getting together an army which, ' as soon as their 
harvest was over,' marched out — in the strange, inter- 
mittent way in which the Civil War was conducted 
throughout — under the command of the Earl of 

Of their personal conduct, how they were raised 
and how paid, we know little ; and it was to supply 
this want that an impudent local forger concocted 
the * Squire Papers,' which fairly took in Carlyle, 
who printed them as an appendix to his * Cromwell's 
Letters and Speeches.' In my * Norfolk Antiquarian 
Miscellany,'* I dissected these papers at some 
length, but it is hardly worth while going over the 
ground again here. It will suffice, perhaps, to any 
one acquainted with the subject, to point out that at a 
time when double Christian names were so extremely 
rare that a single example can hardly be found, one 
list only of a hundred and forty-nine names has 
foMY examples. The proportion of very unusual and 
Scriptural Christian names, too, is ridiculously large ; 
but the letters glorified Cromwell and gave plenty of 
detail, and that was enough for Carlyle, that very- 
much-overrated-for-historical-accuracy writer.t Since 
the above was written, Prof Gairdner has finally burst 
the bubble in a letter to the Academy of March, 

* Vol. ii., p. 16. 

t The forged pedigree of Cromwell from the royal family of 
Stuart also took him in. (See Genealogist, Jan. 18S5.) 

88 A Popular History of Norfolk, 

At each extremity of the county there was a little 
stir. In October, 1642, a King's ship with 140 
officers and men, and 300 barrels of gunpowder, and 
some of the Queen's letters, was captured, without a 
blow, by the Yarmouth volunteers, who were publicly 
thanked by the House for their good service ; while 
a year later — September, 1643— Lynn, which had 
declared for the King, was captured by the Eastern 
Association army, under the Earl of Manchester. 
Its royalism was no doubt due to the Le Stranges of 
Hunstanton, who were powerful neighbouring 
squires. Sir Hamo Le Strange was chosen Governor, 
and promised ^^1,000 of his own money towards the 
defence, and the garrison had 50 pieces of ordnance, 
1,200 muskets, 500 barrels of powder, and three or 
four troops of horse. 

At first the Royalists had a little the best of the 
skirmishes, but Cromwell, coming up, occupied West 
Lynn, and began to shoot over the river right into 
the town — one cannon-ball slapping right into St. 
Margaret's church during Sunday morning service, 
smashing one of the pillars, but hurting no one. The 
maids of Norwich raised a troop, afterwards called 
the * Virgin Troop,' and the bachelors were to have 
got together another, to send to help reduce their 
sister city — a curious survival of the old joinings to- 
gether to raise the ' Maiden's Light,' and the 

* Bachelor's Light,' in Catholic times. This 

* Maiden Troop,' by the way, afterwards had a 
tradition manufactured for it that it was composed 
of virtuous maidens who, incensed at the outrages 

Norfolk's Part in the ' Eastern Association' 89 

committed on their sex by the Cavaliers, banded to- 
gether to fight for themselves ! However — whether 
by the maidens or Cromwell — the town was reduced 
with little bloodshed, in spite of some boasting that 
' Manchester might as soon raise his father from the 
dead as get into Lynn,' and * that he might as soon 
get into heaven as into Lynn.' 

Sir Hamo Le Strange seems to have professed to 
be reconciled to the Parliament ; but whether this 
was only a blind must be matter of conjecture, for 
the next year his son Roger (* Strange Lying Roger,' 
the pamphleteer) got up a plot for surprising Lynn, 
and obtained the King's commission at Oxford ; but 
rashly trusting two men named Lemon and Haggard, 
was betrayed by them, and sentenced to death as a 
spy, though he contended that what he had done was 
fair and open warfare. He was remanded, and 
afterwards escaped, living to be a most virulent 
writer against the party who intended to hang him. 

The King's side never raised its head again in 
Norfolk after this. There was a commotion in 
Norwich in 1648, when the Mayor, being a loyal 
subject, was removed by order of the Parliament. 
Some of his friends plotted to rescue him by force, 
and not allow him to be taken up to London by the 
messenger of the House of Commons, who was 
staying at the ' Royal,' then the King's Head; and if 
it had not been for some of the more sensible of the 
citizens, the freemen — many of whom openly avowed 
they were for the King — would have killed the 
messenger, who had to fly for his life without his 

90 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

prisoner. As it was, there was a tumultuous risin^j 
and breaking-in of shops, and robbery of arms and 
powder, and all the makings of a bloodthirsty riot. 
But Fleetwood's troop, billeted out not far away, 
came galloping in about five o'clock in the evening, 
and made short work of the undisciplined mob. 
Some were holding the ' Committee House,' in 
Bethlehem Yard, where the Hospital now stands. 
Everything was in confusion ; the troopers were 
hammering at the gate ; gunpowder was lying about 
loose all over the place — one man afterwards swore 
that he swept up a hatful from the stairs; and it would 
have been a miracle if the ninety-eight barrels of gun- 
powder had not blown up, as they did in due course. 
How many were killed in the ' crack,' as the old 
writers called it, is not known ; but it effectually took 
all the fight out of the survivors, who scattered and 
fled. The churches of St. Peter Mancroft and of St. 
Stephen both suffered from the explosion — especially 
the former, which, from its churchwardens' accounts, 
seems to have had its east window blown in ; and 
its bells were rung shortly after, to celebrate its 
great deliverance from the ' Blowe.' General Fairfax 
came down in person to see the mischief; and, soon 
after, the * mutineers,' io8 in number, were tried, 
and seven executed in the Castle Ditches. It is 
hard to say whether there is any truth in the rumour 
that King Charles hid for four days at Downham, 
and stayed at the Castle Inn there, though some 
say he was concealed at Snore Hall, near Ryston. 
Of the story so often told by local writers — that 

NorfoUcs Part in the ^Eastern Association^ 91 

the execution of Charles I. was determined on at 
a Council held at No. 4, South Quay, Yarmouth, 
which then belonged to John Carter, whose son 
married Ireton's daughter — it is hardly necessary to 
say much by way of criticism. It is a pity we can- 
not believe the picturesque fabrication — the regicides 
consulting for hours together in strict privacy, with 
a servant at the door ; the putting off dinner from 
hour to hour, from four till past eleven at night ; and 
the then sudden dispersal of the conspirators — some 
for London, some for the army — after a hasty meal. 
But, except a letter written in 1773, there is not the 
least foundation for the story; and it is in the highest 
degree unlikely that those who held the strings in 
their hands in London should have taken so unne- 
cessary a step as to have rendezvoused at Yarmouth 
to talk the matter over. 

By the way, it is noticeable that Cromwell, like 
Queen Elizabeth, was from East English blood on 
his mother's side — being descended from a family 
named Styward, of Swaffham, for whom a descent 
from the royal family of Stuart was concocted in 
the reign of Elizabeth. This fiction, I think I may 
say, was exposed by me in the Genealogist of January, 

It cannot be supposed that when the Royalists at 
last got the upper hand again, they did not vilify 
those who had been riding roughshod over them. 
Miles Corbet, for example — who was probably the 
most active of the Norfolk regicides, and afterwards 

92 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

executed — was said to have been * at the beginning 
of the Parliament £5,000 in debt — more than he was 
worth. Now one of the Registrars of Chancery, 
worth 3^700 a year ; besides chairman for scandalous 
ministers (sic), worth £"1,000 per ann., and hath money 
in his purse.* 

A list of the Royalist party in the county, and an 
account of their properties, and what fines they had 
to pay, will be found at p. 315 d seq. of Mason's 

* History of Norfolk.' Corbett of Sprowston was 
first a Royalist, but then deserted to the Parliament 
— the only renegade of the county. De Gray of 
Merton, Fountaine, Heydon, Jermyn, Le Neve, 
Paston, and Yelverton were more staunch, and no 
doubt were rewarded in one way or another by the 
Merry Monarch ; and if the proposed order of 

* Knighthood of the Royal Oak' had been instituted, 
twenty Norfolk men were to have had it. 

Some of the outbursts of loyalty under difficulties 
were amusing. One man got into trouble for saying 
out at Fersfield : 

' Heigh-ho for a twopenny halter ! 
When you are hanged you shall have good quarter. 
Oh it would be — a brave sight to see 
All the Roundheads — hung on a tree. 
[S/>oh'n'\ O ye rogues, ye must all come to it !' 

The little joke as to * quarter ' and * quartering ' is 
not so bad. 

We know that many of the regular clergy suffered 
much by their ejectment ; and when they were at 
length reinstated, one can fancy the glee and satis- 

Norfolk's Part in the ' Eastern Association.^ 93 

faction with which they reached down the parish 
registers and, as at Edingthorpe, wrote under the 
name of the ousted minister some such lines as : 
* This Knave Michel, of detestable and most odious 
memory, was Holder-forth ;' and * When ye Knave 
Michel held forth, who in effect turn'd the Temple 
of God into a Tabernacle of Robbers.' 

So, then, all was well that ended well; and the \ 

ringers of St. Peter Mancroft, who had been pulling 
away merrily in 1657, * on the day the Lord Pro- 
tector was proclaimed,' exercised their professional 
skill just as heartily in 1660, * ringinge when the 
King's armes were sett up.' Perhaps, indeed, it 
may be doubted if they cared two straws as to 
what they were ringing about, if their beloved bells 

swung truly and their 'gotches' of ale were duly > 

replenished. \ 




F James I. the Norfolk people saw a 
good deal, though nothing much to their 
edification. Coke (son of the Chief 
Justice) speaks of his drinking Greek 
wine so strong that, tasting it out of curiosity, it 
upset him for three days afterwards ; and gives a 
graphic picture of how the King was * trussed ' or 
fastened on to his horse's back when he was hunting, 
and how he rode as he was set, without trying to 
poise himself in his saddle, and how if his hat were 
put on awry he let it stop so. Thetford, no doubt 
for its position for hunting and hawking and its 
flocks of bustards, was his favourite place in Norfolk. 
Here, we are told, he had a long-continued cold, 
which he kept renewing from time to time by getting 
hot with hunting and then drinking immoderately. 
Here, too, his timorous mind was grievously offended 
by the loyal subjects joining too closely in his hunt- 
ing, and Sir Wilham Woodhouse had to forbid people 
to come to him on those occasions. From Thetford 

Ottr Later History. 95 

he sent word to Dame Catherine Corbet, of Wood- 
bastwick, to preserve an eyrie of laniers (hawks) 
breeding in her woods there. A warren of hares was 
enclosed for him, in i6o5, between Newmarket and 
Thetford. The ' King's House,' at the latter place, is 
still one of the most interesting buildings in the town 
(see post, Chapter XII.). More westerly he made his 
celebrated joke: when on a marshland man boasting 
that the fertility of West Norfolk marshes was so great 
that if you placed a stick over-night on the ground 
you could not see it next morning [for the rapid 
growth of grass] , the King retaliated that he knew 
meadows in Scotland where, if you put a \iQYse 
over-night you would not see it next day. 

But, apart from the stirring times of the Civil War, 
on which I touched in the last chapter, the history 
of Norfolk for the last three centuries is really the 
history of its elections and of its trade. Of the trade 
I will treat slightly in my ninth chapter ; so in this I 
will say something about the most noticeable of the 
old-world elections. 

Of the very early elections little need be said. The 
serving the county or city was done with reluctance 
by the members, who grudged the time and trouble 
it cost them, and who were in most cases only the 
nominees of the preponderating parties in the 
country. It is not till the latter half of the fifteenth 
century that one gets any details of interest about 
the elections, and then, as usual, only through the 
Paston Letters 

In 1455, the Duchess of Norfolk writes to John 

96 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Paston that it was necessary * that my lord should 
have at this time in Parliament such persons as 
long with him and be of his menial servants,' (!) and 
asks for Paston's support for John Howard and Sir 
Roger Chamberlin. There was some faint-hearted 
opposition to this. Some said that it was ' an evil 
precedent for the shire that a strange man should be 
chosen. . . . And that if the gentlemen of the shire 
will suffer such inconvenience, the shire shall not be 
called of such worship as it hath been.* 

But it all came to nothing — the Under-Sheriff 
seemed frightened of opposing the great man, and 
so his two nominees were returned as usual. Half-a- 
dozen years later (1461) John Paston himself was 
elected, with his wife's cousin, John Berney, but not 
so peacefully ; for the same Sir John Howard, who 
was then Sheriff of the county, had a great dispute 
with Paston in the shire-house, and one of his men 
struck Paston twice with a dagger — the stroke, how- 
ever, being luckily stopped by a well-padded doublet. 

In 1586 there was a double return for knights of 
the shire under curious circumstances, iivo writs 
having been sent down to the Sheriff, — one on the 
15th September and the other on the nth October. 
The reason for the second return has puzzled 
Mr. Mason,* but the reason seems clear enough to 
me, viz., that the first writ was not received in time 
to be proclaimed, and the freeholders notified — so 
the Chancery sent down a second writ, which was 
properly executed. However, the House considered 

* Hist, of Norf., vol. i., p. 162. 

Our Later History. 97 

it would be a perilous precedent for a second writ 
to have been sent down without its sanction, and so 
decided in favour of the first return. 

The way in which the election of 1614 was con- 
ducted by the authorities seems to have given great 
dissatisfaction, for a petition was presented by many 
thousands of the freeholders about it — which petition 
is now preserved among the House of Lords Records. 
From Additional MS. 27,402, f. 192, it would seem 
that ' one Mr. Hurne ' appeared on behalf of Sir John 
Hobart, for v/hom not above twenty votes were given, 
* though money was given to procure several,' and 
raised a disturbance, assaulting a grave divine, 
knocking down the Sheriff, and breaking his staff of 
office. There are no returns extant for this election, 
which, as it will be remembered, was that rendered 
so noteworthy by the Court candidates being rejected 
nearly everywhere. It has been assumed, however,* 
that Calthorp and Catelin were duly elected on 
the strength of the MS. just quoted, referring to 
their having a majority of 500 and more over Hobart. 
But our earliest election squib, 'The Dead March,' 
which is ascribed to 1616, mentions Sir Hamond Le 
Strange and Sir Henry Bedingfield as being then 
I^I.P.'s for the county. Another Hobart (Sir Miles) 
was one of the members in 1629, and, as before 
mentioned, was the man who was bold enough to 
lock the door of the House in the face of the Captain 
of the King's Guard, and to put the key in his 

* Mason's Norfolk, p. 235. 


98 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

To the Long Parliament of 1640 Sir Thomas 
Wodehouse and Framingham Gawdy were sent up 
from Norfolk in the Parliamentary interest. A man 
called Tobias Fryar (Frere)* stood as a zealot, and 
of him the following story is preserved in the 
L'Estrange anecdotes, printed by the Camden 
Society in 1839 : 

' Tobias Fryar, a pretended zelote but true ring- 
leader and head of all factions and schismaticall spiritts 
in the County, puft up with the pride and strength 
of his party, must needs stand to be Kt. (or rather 
K[nave]) of the shire for Norff, but fell most shame- 
fully short, and lost it with many squibs and 
disgraces ; only for his comfort a true disciple of his 
sayd : " However, I am sure Mr. Fryar stood for 
Christ Jesus, for none but reprobates and prophane 
wretches went against him " ' (No. 553). 

Of the election of 1675 some amusing particulars 
are preserved among the Ingilby MSS.f Sir Robert 
Kemp was the Government, and Sir Nevill Catlyn 
the Independent, candidate. Catlyn's party * used ' 
the 'Royal' (then the King's Head), and the other 
side, using a stratagem — singularly enough repeated 
at the same house last election, two or three years 
ago — ordered a great dinner there, on the pretence 
that they might * friendly meet and dir.c ' with the 
other party, and ultimately secured the whole house 

* He was more successful in the Short or Barebones Parlia 
ment of 1653, and in Cromwell's Second Parliament in 1654. 
t 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. Com., p. 571 a. 

Oity Later History. 99 

as their election quarters ; Catlyn, who was brought 
into town by 4,000 horsemen, having to put up with 
the White Swan, * at the back side of the butchers' 
shambles.' Loud complaints were made that the 
Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant greatly favoured Kemp's 
side, and that the poll was prematurely closed, and, 
in effect, that the militia 'governed their poor 
countrymen.' * It's much observed here that many 
of those persons that came to the poll for Sir Robert 
Kemp cried out that they came for the Lord Lieu- 
tenant's sake, and others for this Colonel, Captain, 
or Justice, but rarely any man said he came for Sir 
Robert Kemp's sake.' 

In 1677, there was a strange election for the city, 
William Paston — afterwards Earl of Yarmouth — 
being unwillingly opposed by Captain Augustine 
Briggs, who was put forward by the ' sectaries, not- 
withstanding the Captain utterly refused to sign.' 
This election was also noticeable for the wholesale 
creation of freemen for the express purpose of voting 
at it. 

The Paston interest in 1678 was thrown in with 
Calthorp and Catlyn, who are said to have won 
easily, their supporters voting very evenly, the num- 
bers being 2,243 and 2,242, Sir John (Hobart ?), the 
favourite of the * rabble,' only polHng 1,733. On the 
other hand, the return in Ewing's ' Norfolk Lists ' 
gives Hobart and Catlyn as the sitting members, 
so I suppose Calthorp was thrown out on petition. 

Of course, in all Norfolk elections about this timq 

lOO A Pcpular History of Norfolk. 

the figure of Sir Robert Walpole — Squire of Houghton 
long before he was Prime Minister of England — 
looms large before us ; and we may guess how his 
influence and his money — or rather the money he 
handled — were brought to bear on the local politics 
of his native county. In the first year of the 
eighteenth century he was married to the daughter 
of a Lord Mayor of London, and entered Parliament 
as member for the rotten borough of Castle Rising. 
So fast did he rise, that he was governing the House 
in 170S as Whig Prime Minister. When the Tories 
came in again, he impeached for corruption; 
and in 1712 a majority of the House resolved that 
he had been guilty of a high breach of trust and 
notorious corruption while Secretary at War, and 
he was committed to the Tov/er and expelled the 
House. At the dissolution in 1713, he was sent 
back as member for Lynn, and, when George L 
came to the throne, was in the next Ministry, and 
soon had an opportunity of showing that two could 
play at impeaching. The rest of his life is matter of 
public history, and does not affect the county, to which 
he returned to die, just before the '45. His al^ged 
peculations have some interest for the local historian, 
for out of them he is thought to have built Houghton 
Hall, at a fabulous expense, and to have stocked it 
with pictures so valuable that the Empress of Russia 
afterwards bought some of them for over ;^-}0,ooo. 
The house is a hideous one — heavy and dark — built 
to the designs of Campbell by one Ripley, of whom 
Pope wrote ; 

Our Later History. loi 

'So Ripley, till his destined space is filled, 
Heaps bricks on bricks, and fancies 'tis to build.' 

What it cost — building and furnishing — will pro- 
bably never be known ; but it is impossible it could 
have been erected with honest money, for Walpole's 
patrimony was little over ;£'2,ooo a year. 

Any one wanting to read the accusations and in- 
sinuations against him and his honesty, cannot do 
better than read the satirically so-styled ' Robin's 
Paneg>'rick, or the Norfolk iMiscellany,' which, I 
think, must contain everything that can possibly be 
said against him, his family, and his relations. Some 
of the poetry is amusing ; e.g., the ballad styled 
* Leheup at Hanover,' affecting to describe how the 
statesman's son, Horace, and Isaac Leheup — a con- 
nection of the family by marriage — grossly mis- 
behaved themselves at Hanover. It begins ; 

' When Robin ruled the British land 

With gold and silver bright, 
To put his kindred all in place 

He ever took delight. 
Forth from the venal band he call'd, 

Horace and Isaac came. 
He bid "em go to foreign Courts 

And raise immortal fame. 
Two Taylor's daughters, rich and fair, 

Exactly match each brother ; 
Horace made suit and gain'd the one, 

And Isaac stilcJiditiQ other.' 

This, of course, refers to Horace Walpole's marry- 
ing one of the daughters of Peter Lombard, a v^ell- 
knovvn tailor, and to the insinuation that Lehcjp 
was unduly familiar with another. 

lo? A Popidar History of Norfolk. 

In the county, the minister seems to have been 
popular for his hearty good-temper. An amusing 
tale is told how, delighted at hearing that the Dere- 
ham people meant to pave their town — then, as 
now, a dirty hole — he invited some of the principal 
inhabitants to Houghton, and gave them a good 
dinner, and twenty guineas towards the expense of 
the work ; and that they then rather ungratefully 
got a trifle too jovial on his liquor, and sang a 
Jacobite song, 'All joys to Great Ca-sar,' under his 
astonished roof-tree. 

It was about this time that the scandal about Castle 
Rising was at its worst. It shared with Old Sarum the 
disreputable notoriety of being the rottenest of rotten 
boroughs.* It is hard to say why it ever returned 
two members, or one, indeed, for the matter of that. 
There were formerly fifty burgesses, which number 
the proprietors of the soil, the Earl of Orford and 
Countess of Suffolk, judiciously reduced to /k'O — each 
votertherefore sending a representative to Parliament. 
The whole election was carried out in the chancel of 
the parish church ; and, after it was over, the bur- 
gesses ' were carried up to the Castle, where the 
Treat is provided.' It will be remembered that 
Castle Rising once sent a waiter as one of its repre- 
sentatives 1 

The county election of 1714 was one of the most 
stubborn ever fought in the county, Astley and De 
Grey winning with 3,059 and 3,183, against Hare and 
Earle with 2,840 and 2,635. 

*' It first sent members in 155S, when it was an absolutely 
insignificant place. 

Otir Later History. 103 

It is curious how some villages voted like a stone 
wall : e.g.y Cromer not giving a vote to Hare and 
Earle ; while, singularly enough, Watton — hard by 
the De Greys' seat at Merton — gave their adver- 
saries twice as many votes as it did its neighbour. 
Singularly enough, too, at Dalling — which one would 
have thought a stronghold of the Earles — they only 
had a majority of one vote. 

Still closer and harder was the fight of 1734, when 
Bacon and Wodehouse, with 3,224 and 3,153, beat 
Coke and Morden with 3,081 and 3,147. When it 
comes to half a dozen votes in three thousand, one 
trembles to think what frightful bribery must have 
been going on. This election is said to have cost 
Sir Robert Walpole ^^60,000. 

The election of 1768, when Astley and Coke beat 
De Grey and Wodehouse, was closer still, there 
being again only half a dozen between third and 
fourth, the numbers being : 1,869, ^5657, 1,651, and 


Later on, Coke and Astley, when they beat 

Wodehouse in 1802, only got rid of him by less 
than 100 ; but Wodehouse's party began to fall 
away in 1806, when Coke and Windham beat him 

To describe the election squibs would take a 
chapter by itself, which would not be a very edifying 
or interesting one ; for the raciness of the chaff and 
the abuse is gone when one has to painfully dig out 
and translate the meaning. 

Of course, some things arc obvious enough. For 

104 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

example : if a baronet named Bacon stands for a 
county, he must expect — though his name comes 
from an early Danish settler — to be called every 
variety of hog and pig, and to have a pig's head put 
to his caricatures. 

The history of Norfolk electioneering would be 
incomplete without a passing reference to Richard 
Gardiner — better known by his nom dc plume of ' Dick 
Merryfellow ' — who was born in 1723, long lived at 
Swaffham, and died at Ingoldisthorpe in 1781. 
Early in life he had been disappointed in love by 
being rejected by IMiss Sotherton of Taverham, and 
vented his spleen, in 1754, by publishing a work 
called ' The History of Pudica, a Lady of Norfolk ; 
with an Account of her Five Lovers — Dick Merry- 
fellow; Count Antiquary ; Young Squire Fog, of 
Dumpling Hall [Edward Hare, Esq., of Sale]; Jack 
Shadwill, of the Lodge [John Buxton, Esq.]; and 
Miles Dinglebob, of Popgun Hall, Esq. [Miles Bran- 
thwayt, Esq., of Gunthorp].' From the notoriety — 
one might saypopularity — this work obtained, it would 
seem to have hit the public taste, though to this genera- 
lion it appears full of dull vulgarities and offensive per- 
sonalities. Encouraged by its success, he seems to 
have been afflicted by the caco'cthcs scribcndi for the rest 
of his life, and dashed into the county electioneering 
contests with never-ending vigour. Direct brutal 
personal attacks seem to have been his forte; and 
though I have waded through nearly all the stuff he 
wrote, I can find nothing to make one even smile, 

Our Laier History. 105 

unless it be a solemn letter to John [Buxton, of?] 
Shadvvell, Esq., assuring him solemnly that he need 
be under no apprehensions about coming to Norwich 
to serve on the Grand Jury, as the writer had no 
intention whatever ' of taking you by the nose, or 
caneing you, or giving you the discipline of the 
horsewhip ' — an ingenious way of insulting and 
annoying an adversary, without giving him any legal 
claim to redress. In 1768 he was a constant 
writer of squibs and lampoons on the popular side, 
especially denouncing the ' General Warrants.' A 
sample of his style at Lynn will suffice : 

' Hogge ! that mean wretch whose dirt-collected bags 
Arose from gaping cockles sold in rags, 
Down to thy dunghill, muckworm ! and be dumb, 
Thou son of infamy, though worth a plumb !' 

He supported Astley and Coke against Wodehouse 
and De Grey; but afterwards, having a pecuniary 
difference with Coke, apparently devoted the rest of 
his life to vilifying him in prose and rhyme. 

Of course, at Norwich nowadays every one knows 
that the Conservative colours are orange and purple, 
and the Radical blue and white ; but it is not 
generally known that the great families used to 
have their own colours — e.g., Coke, orange ; Wind- 
ham, white ; Wodehouse, pink and purple \ and 
Astley, green. It is strange that the present Con- 
servative colours would seem to be a combination of 
the colours of two opposite parties. 



N looking at the early history of the 
tillers of the soil, we have to re- 
member that in old days they were 
divided into : (i) * Bondsmen in blood,' 
who had, practically speaking, to do what the 
lord of the manor to which they were annexed 
told them to do ; and (2) Free tenants, who were 
bound by the tenure of their lands to do certain 
work annually — a survival of whose duties may still 
be seen in county leases, where the lessee often 
covenants to do so many days' work with his horses 
and carts, carrying coal to the * Hall.' Free labourers 
were very scarce indeed — one may almost say un- 
known ; so, if the lord wanted more work than his 
bondsmen could do, or his free tenants would do, he 
had to make terms with this latter class to do so for 
a money or other consideration. 

The 'bondsmen' were attached to the manor, and 
their lords could grant them with it, or apparently 
with any portion of it. Henry dc Rye (ante, 1162) 

The Old Peasant Life. 107 

granted the mill of Worthing, near Dereham, with 
Turstan the miller, his mother and brothers, and 
all their land and substance, to the monks of Castle 
Acre, at d afterwards gave them Philip and Adewald, 
and all their services and tenures. But I have not 
met with a case in which the lord granted villeins 
away from his manor ;* and indeed the essence of the 
slavery seems to have been its locality ; for I find that 
when John de Clavering, in 1312, sued eighteen 
villeins of his manor of Cossey for withdrawing 
themselves from his manor, six of them successfully 
pleaded they had obtained their freedom by living in 
the city of Norwich without paying * chevage ' for a 
year and a day ; and two others, that they had been 
born in the city, and were so free. This ' chevage ' 
was a fine paid by the villein to his lord for liberty 
to live outside his manor, and of course operated as 
an admission of his villeinage while paid. Later on, 
in some manors, those who paid it were called 
'aulepimen,' a word the derivation of which has 
long puzzled wiser heads than mine. The villeins 
also paid fines if they married wdthout the lord's 
license. Occasionally the lord urged by the priest, 
gave his bondsmen their hberty for the good of 
his soul, and sometimes they bought it. A villein 
could not take Holy Orders without his lord's license, 
and even when this was granted it did not necessaril}- 
include a grant of his freedom, as may be seen by two 

* Except occasionally when he gave the villeins to some re- 
ligious house, when by a pleasing fiction they were supposed to 
be serving God, not man. 

io8 A Popular History of Norfoll:. 

licenses I printed in the * East Anglian' (N. S.), vol. 
i., p. 5. I have seen fines levied of a man's freedom ; 
and deeds granting it are not uncommon -^^ but all 
manors were not so lucky as that of Coltishall, where 
the King, who was lord, freed all his tenants. 

The condition of a bondsman b}' blood could never 
have been pleasant ; but that they were ever so loutish, 
or lived in such abject submission, as described by the 
anonymous Monk of Peterborough, in his ' Descriptio 
Norfolciensium,' written somewhere about 1300, is 
absurd. He makes out that they ' gnaw and chew 
bread made of tares ;' do not know an car of wheat 
when they see one; live at night in their lord's sheep- 
fold, to create manure, or pay a money fine if they 
did not ; mistake toads for birds, and so on. 

There is no reason to suppose that the alleged 
lord's right to a first night ever existed in Norfolk ; 
and the idea probably arose from the fact mentioned 
above, that a tenant marrying out of the homage 
paid a fine to the lord for doing so. At Gates- 
thorpe, the fine was the appropriate one of a bed, 
bolster, sheet, and pillow ; and so it was at West 
Herli>g, but in the latter place certain tenants called 
'molmen' were exempt. 

It must not be supposed that the tenants were 

entirely neglected. Some were no doubt ' house 

carles,' and had food and fire found them ; and we 

find that at Gimmingham the lord's hall was sup- 

■'' An amusing story of how some peasants bought their trec- 
dom, but unluckily used the wax seal on the charter to make a 
candle, and so spoiled the efficacy of the release, is told by the 
Monk of retcrboroui;h, mentioned above. 

The Old Pcasa7it Life. 109 

ported by pillars, and the custom and rule was that 
no tenant socman should go beyond that pillar which 
was appointed for his station and degree. This would 
imply a participation in the meals ; and we knov,' 
that at Honingham the lord kept a comnion oven 
for the use of his tenants. And I expect the poorer 
labourers fed better in the thirteenth than in the 
eighteenth and part of the nineteenth centuries ; for 
I have myself seen a man who told me he had never 
tasted ' butcher's nieat ' — pork not being so called. 

Manor notices were given out to the tenants in 
the church, as at Bacton, when they were warned 
openly on the Sunday to come to the lord's court on 
the next Friday.* 

A mud hut, thatched with fern or brushwood, was 
probably the best home a villein could expect. There 
are some cottages now in use near Smallburgh, for 
cart-sheds and such like, which give one the best 
possible idea of how the very poor must have lived 
six centuries ago, with clay floors, no glazed windows, 
and only a shutter. No doubt cosy and comfort- 
able enough if only kept clean, for mud walls are 
warm ; but, from the fearful head that leprosy (com- 
monly said to have been introduced by the Crusaders) 
and all sorts of pestilences, such as the Black Death, 
made, I fear cleanliness was the exception to the 
rule. From the custom of Hem.esby Manor, which 
gives a list of the articles which the lord could claim 
on his villein's death, we get a very good idea of the 
furniture of this same mud hut. Outside was a cart 
* Paston ' Letters,' p. 823. 

no A Popular History of Norfolk. 

and plough ; and inside, * a table with its cloth, a 
ladder, a bason and washing vessel, dishes and 
plates, a cinum (ash-pan ?), a tinum (a large vessel), 
as well as a bcd-:nattress, a grindstone, a spade 
and a fork.' 

Of course, one could not expect much refinement 
with these surroundings, and we may remember 
with shame that it was in respect of a Norfolk manor 
(Kirkstead) that Baldwin le Pettour did his dirty 
service each coronation-day. On the other hand, 
malgrc the fines on marriage, there was no doubt 
much connubial felicity ; and we may refer with 
pride to the fact that it was a Norfolk couple who 
first won the Dunmow Flitch; and probably the 'big 
goose green,' as Norfolk was once called, had many 
a pleasant little family, who lived happily ignorant 
of future school boards and sanitation. 

There is not much doubt that when at field-work 
the ' servi ' were subject to some sort of physical 
restraint ; for the reapers were supervised by a man 
with a rod or wand, as is told in a suit ii John, 
Belet V. Thorpe, in Shouldham Thorpe. Even the 
better class of tenants, such as the * lanceti ' (a 
' lancetagium ' contained eight acres), were subject 
to many curious and irksome restrictions. They 
had at Hindringham, in John's time, to keep their 
sheep in the lord's fold from Martinmas to Candle- 
mas, and then to take their ewes out of fold, and 
pay foldagc ; but the other sheep remained all the 
year in the lord's fold. 

Some idea of how the * work-services * were 

The Old Peasant Life. 1 1 1 

arranged may be gleaned from the old customaries. 
In Brissingham, in 1341, the quit-rents and free- 
rents were, inter alia — 212 days' work in autumn 
(workmen to be fed by the lord) ; 174 afternoons' 
work in autumn (no food) ; 25 days' work with their 
own carts and horses (no food) ; 183 'journeys ' at 
plough ; and 125 * ale beves,' i.e., carting-days, on 
which they went or not, as they pleased — ^the lord 
treating them, if they came, to ale and food. 
' Beeves ' ? Was this the derivation of the American 
' bees ' — where men and women give voluntary help, 
but expect a free feed afterwards ? It is curious that 
a ' bever ' is still the harvest-man's snack between 
breakfast and dinner — otherwise * noonings.' 

Perhaps the best record we have of the routine of 
duties of a manor is contained in the ' Computus ' of 
Newton, in the marsh-land county, dated 1395. We 
find, first : 

1. The lord's Demesne Lands specially accounted 
for — some as being in his own cultivation, sown 
with v.'heat, oats, etc., and some as being let out for 
a term of years — which proves that farmers were not 
necessarily yearly tenants in old days. 

2. The Escheated Lands — i.e., lands which formerly 
belonged to copyholders, but which had, by some 
default or another, got into the lord's hands again — 
the word possibly supplying an irritated copyholder 
with an origin for the modern word * cheat.' 

3. The Customary Lands — under which heading 
each free tenant accounts for his rent, services, and 
' customs' or customary services. 

112 A Popular History of No7'folk. 

This same 'Compotus* shows us that the 'customs* 
were often commuted for cash payments. There was 
here a 'sedyk-sylver'* — payable instead of doing work 
on the sea-dyke, this being a maritime manor; as 
well as a * mowin-silver ' and a * hay-make.' The 
custom of giving the free tenants something for their 
customary day's labour is clear here. For autumn 
Avork they got a penny a day, while the hired 
labourers got fourpence. Five shillings was paid 
for food and beer bought for labourers carrying corn 
according to custom ; but I find no trace of refresh- 
ments for the hired men. 

The various rights of various lords, and the quaint 
names under which they went, are hardly as well 
known as they might be. At Eccles, the lord had 

* heweshift, reveshift, and ingel,' to be paid by 
tenants ; ' herdcrshift,' whereby the homage was to 
choose a shepherd to keep the lord's sheep ; * ingeld ;' 

* felsine,' paid by the tenants for the common aid ; 
and * bedgilt.' He also claimed ' resting-geld ' for 
the beasts of strangers resting one night in the 
common or stock-house, and also ' resting-geld ' of 
all goods coming to land by sea. It is curious that 
the sea has itself come to land so much in this 
parish, that there is little of it left, and the church- 
tower stands up solitary, like a post in a waste of 

It is hard to find any distinct evidence whether 
the poor suffered much by the maladministration of 
the law ; but I fear they must have done so, for in 
* Sea dyke silver. 

The Old Peasant Life. 113 

one Gaol Delivery (1332) the two constables of 
Humbleyard were fined for extortion and fraud; and 
in 1276 three sheriffs were punished for extortion, 
while the Earl Warren's bailiff had to pay the King 
no less than ;£"ioo to cover his misdeeds this same 

The claims and rights of the landlords were often 
enforced in a way which would astonish modern law- 
reformers. For example, we see by the Paston 
Letters that in 1477 Lynstede, the bailiff, is to 
distrain the crop after it is cut, while it lies on the 
ground — in plain English, to allow the wretched 
tenant to be at the expense of reaping before the 
distraint was to be made ; while at Oxnead the 
farmer is to be allowed to * in ' his crop, and then 
the bailiff is to seal up the barn-door. 

The Norfolk love for litigation, of which Tusser 
complains so feeHngly — which drove the legislature 
to limit the number of attorneys in the county, and 
which, it is said, would make one Norfolk farmer sue 
another for trespass if a cow so much as looked over 
a hedge — w as rife as much among the peasants as 
among their betters. An amusing entry occurs in a 
Government return of Crown leases, in which, after 
mentioning that certain parcels of saltmarsh, at 
Thornham and elsewhere, had been let to one 
Bentley, it goes on to say that he could never get 
possession of them, ' the Country, who had pos- 
session of them, being too hard for him at law.' 

Small offences were no doubt chiefly dealt with by 
Ihe manor courts in the olden times. The court- 


114 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

really acted as a sanitary board ; for men were often 
prosecuted for letting their trees overhang the King's 
highway, for fouling springs, for not repairing roads; 
for keeping unrung pigs, or savage dogs or bulls, and 
so forth. 

The Burnham Rolls give some very amusing entries 
of these and other sorts of offences. In the 28 
Edw. I., John Doget is fined sixpence for that he 
slandered (' vilipendulat ') a pig belonging to Martin de 
Southmore, while he was selling it, whereby he lost 
the sale — probably by calling it measly. Assaults 
are frequently noticed and punished ; and from the 
frequency of such double-barrelled entries as ' John 
Aubrey drew blood of Henry Strabald, and Henry 
Strabald drew blood of John Aubrey' (28 Edw. I.), 
I am inclined to think that the rustics were more 
quarrelsome than they are now. All blood-drawing 
seems to have been noticed — e.g., * Martin Kutt drew 
blood of Richard Togood, but accidentally only, 
and not feloniously; therefore it is condoned.' Per- 
haps the most amusing of these mediaeval mis- 
demeanours is eavesdropping, or skulking, which I 
fmd first in these Burnham Rolls in the 26 Hen. VI., 
when Robert, son of Edmund Palle, was fined six- 
pence ' for standing at night under the windows of 
John Gasele, to hear the secrets of the said John.' 
A dozen years later, John Bourdye and Simon 
Bourdon were presented as being common skulkers 
under the windows of their neighbours, and in the 
church and elsewhere, to hear the secrets of their 
said neighbours, to the bad example of others. A 

The Old Peasant Life. 1 15 

woman was sometimes prosecuted as a ' common 
seminatrix discordiae' — as was the wife of the Rev. F. 
Richman in 25 Ehz. — or a ' rixatrix.' Some of the 
quarrels were amusing. At Freethorpe, in 31 Eliz., 
John Buttyvant assaulted John Curtyes, * quodam 
le petchforke.' Curtyes, however, was equal to the 
occasion ; for he arranged that he should be the 
only man sworn on the next leet : and, expatiating 
pitifully on the soundness of the drubbing he had 
received, and how his opponent ' verberavit, per- 
cussit, et male tractavit ' him, got him fined. 

Poaching, of course, went on to a great extent, 
and, curiously enough, was indulged in by people of 
a better class than at present. At Burnham, the 
inhabitants of North Creake Abbey were the chief 
sinners — possibly preferring to break the monotony 
of religious exercises by a little excitement, such as 
' trespassing in pursuit of conies with furretts, hooks, 
nets, and other engines,' for which they were fined 
^^'lo. Other ecclesiastical retainers seem to have 
used the Burnham warrens without leave. In 24 
Hen. VI., the servant of the Canon and the farmer 
of the Priory of Walsingham were presented for 
taking and carrying away rabbits with dogs and snares 
called 'Harepypes,' which I presume were long pipes 
of canvas, or other material, fitted to the mouth of 
the burrow. At Merton the ' mere ' was poached 
with a broad net and three bow nets ; and in 1403, 
Edward Howard and William Rokele were presented 
for hare-hunting in the lord's warren. Before 
this, Robert, Lord Morley — for poaching on Bishop 


1 i6 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Bateman's manor, and shooting his deer — had to 
walk over the cruel stones of Norwich barefoot and 
bareheaded, to offer a 6 lb. candle at the cathedral. 
Again, in 1447, the servants of Sir Robert Conycrs 
and of Master Richard Mountcney were fined for 
poaching rabbits ; but the most impudent case was 
in 1359, when six men * arrayed in a riotous manner 
. . . assaulted with their sticks William, the son of 
Thomas (de) Grey, clerk, lord of the manor, and 
beat, wounded, and ill-treated him, and then went 
on hunting hares v/ith harehounds.' 

Another man kept a dog called a 'tumbler' to kill 
rabbits ; which was a dog trained to feign it was 
lame, and tumble about in a helpless way, till it had 
lulled the suspicions of its pre}^, when it recovered 
its speed in a wonderful wa}'. 

The later life could not have been very interesting, 
being hemmed in by many restrictions. In 1624, it 
was mooted that all the alehouses should be sup- 
pressed ;-*^ and in one town, at least (Methwold), 
tobacco-smoking was absolutely prohibited — at all 
events in the streets — in 1695. Women who had 
illegitimate children were publicly whipped in 1634 ; 
and for a small theft a man was whipped, * till his 
body be Bloody,' as late as 1799. 

The poor were however, I think, better looked 
after, on the whole, then than they are now. As 
they grew old, they were medically attended at the 
expense of the parish — as we find from such entries 
as : * Paid mother Mason for the Icechcraft of her 
* Tanner MS. 2S8, folio 265. 

The Old Peasant Life. 117 

eye ' (1560) ; * Paid to the collectors of Pulhani 
Mary for the leachcraft of John Barnes ' (1563) ; and 
there are plenty of entries for nursing and watching, 
and so on. Nor were the poor denied the last rites; 
for we find the parish paying for ' ringing of the soul 
bell,' ' for making of her grave,' ' for carrying her to 
church,' and ' for making her ready to the ground.' 

For those a little above the class of labourers, I 
think 1 can find traces of a general arrangement by 
which the aged members of the family and the un- 
married daughters were allowed house-room, at all 
events, by their better-off relations : e.g., in the will of 
"William Thaxter, of Bassingham — a blacksmith, who 
died 1607 — he gives to one of his daughters the use 
of a chamber in his house till she married, with 
liberty * freely to come and go to and from the fire 
of my said wife.' By the way, it is curious to note 
how some famihes stick to one trade. These 
Thaxters — ancestors of my own, by the way — though 
originally of course * thatchers,' seem to have been 
blacksmiths and ploughwrights for generations. 

Of remunerative indoor occupation for the women 
there seems to have been none — except, of course, 
spinning and knitting for home consumption — till 
about 1700, when, for a few years, the country 
people prospered extremely, through nearly every 
cottage having a hand-loom for weaving; and the 
industry kept on till the introduction of machinery. 

Once a year the labourers and their v/ives had a 
brief respite from labour, and a happy day or two, as 
they got the harvest in. To this hour, you cannot 

1 1 8 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

go through a Norfolk corn-field, as the corn is falling, 
without being asked for largesse ; but the money 
given now goes to the public-house, or to Norwich, 
instead of being clubbed together for a genuine 
jollification in the squire's big barn — more's the 
pity ! In a few years the old songs and jokes will 
have died out, and live only in the pages of a few 
collectors. While one can remember them, it is just 
as well to put one or two on record. 

A favourite one was * The Pye upon the Pear- 
tree Top :' 

' The pye upon the pear-tree top, 

{Singer holds up a glass of ale.) 
*The pear-tree top — the pear-tree top, 
I hold you a crown she is coming down. 

{Brings it down slowly^ 

She is coming down, she is coming down, 
I hold you a crown she is come down. 

(Offers it to his right-haiid neighbour.) 

She is come down — she is come down, 

So lift up your elbow and hold up your chin 

And let your next neighbour joggle it in.' 

The drinker then tries to drink, while his neigh- 
bour tries to stop him by fidgeting his elbow. 

We have few apples, and therefore miss the 
familiar ' Apple Harvest Song,' and the banging off 
guns into the apple-trees, but * Tlic Barley-mow 
Song ' we have thus : 

* Here's a health to the barley -mow, 
Here's a health to the man, 
Who [sometliing] well can 

Plough , harrow, and sow. 

The Old Peasant Life. 119 

* And when it's well sown, 
Well grown, and well mown, 
Heaped, and well carried in ; 
Here's a health to the man, 
Who [something] well can 

Thresh it and fan it out clean.' 

The * three-out glass ' toast of the ' Duke of Norfolk ' 
was in vogue in the beginning of the present century,* 
but I have never heard it myself. The singer came 
in with a staff in his hand and a soft cushion on his 
head for a coronet, and advancing to the table, sang 

* I am the Duke of Norfoll:, 
Lately come from Suftolk, 

Am I not to be attended now, now, now ? 
( The company stand tip and sin^.) 

Noble duke, be not offended, 
For you shall be attended 
With all the respect that we owe, owe, owe. 

Duke. If I am not .ittcndcd, 

This company is ended, 
And parted 1 know not how, how, how. 

All. Noble duke, be not offended, 
For you shall be attended, 
So toss off your liquor v<?« know how, how, how. 

{Offer the duke a glass of ale, which he drinks.) 

And if it is all out 
(Let us see, let us see.) 

{Look into the glass.) 
Duke. And if it is all out, 

We will drink anolher bout, 
So here, my fine fellow, here's to thee, thee, thee. 

{Duke drinks second glass.) 

* E. A,, iii., p. 264. 

120 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

All. The reaper and tlie binder, 

The binder and the reaper, 
The reaper and the binder of corn, corn, corn ; 

So vaUant Cupid bend your bow. 

And shoot away your arrow, O ! 
And huntsman, come wind away your horn, horn, horn.' 

{Duke drinks third glass, the harvest horn is bloivn, and 
the staff and cushion passed on to the ficxt man, and so 
the toast goes round the tal/'e.) 

There was also ' The Woodcutter's Song' : 

' Here's a health to the jolly woodcutter, 
Who takes his work at his ease ; 
He takes it, and he does it, 
And he leaves oflF when he please.® 

* He takes his wythef and winds it. 

And he lays it on the ground, 
And round the faggot he binds it, 

Drink round, drink round, drink round. 

* Drink round, drink round, drink round, boys, 

Until it comes to me. 
For the longer we sit here and drink. 
The thirstier we shall be' 

Hone, in his 'Every Day Book,' ii., col. 116G, 
describes a Norfolk harvest-home, and the following 
health, which varies but little from one still in use : 

' Here's a health unto our master, 
He's the founder of the feast ; 

God bless his endeavours, 
And send him increase, 
And send him increase, boys. 
All in another year. 

^ One can fancy the master's doleful assent to this state- 

t Willow rod. 

The Old Peasant Life. 


' Here's your master's good health, 
So drink off your beer, 
I wish all things may prosper, 
Whate'er he lakes in hand. 
We are all his servants, 

And are all at his command. 
So drink, boys, drink, 
And see you do not spill, 
For if you do, 
You shall drink two, 
For 'tis your master's will.' 



T is hard to conceive with any degree of 
exactitude what the home-Hfe of the 
nobles and gentlemen was five or six 
hundred years ago. The very details 
which would have most interested us were so trite 
and commonplace to the writers of the day that they 
passed them by unnoticed, and we have to gather 
them from incidental mention only. 
■ Our task is harder in Norfolk than elsewhere, for 
from its being hemmed in by the fen-land on the west, 
and being almost uninhabitable on its east on account 
of the spreading ' Broads,' it was usually thought an 
ultima ihule, as may be guessed from ' Piers Plowman ' 
writing that he knew no French but of the farthest 
end of Norfolk — as though this were the place of all 
places most remote from the gentler education of the 

That some, however, on the other hand, did not 
think so, is clear, for we have the Chronicler Jordan 
Fantosme writing thus pleasantly of the Norfolk 
people : 

The Gentler Life. 123 

'Jordan Fantosme first wanted to give himself up, 
On all the reliques an oath to swear, 

There is no clerk in all the world ever so clever in recording; 
His lesson in his book or in speaking of any art, 
Who could tell me, or who can mention 
A land which, from hence to Montpellier, 
Is worth that of Norfolk, of which you hear me speak ; 
More honoured knights, or more hospitable. 
Or merrier dames to give largely. 
Except the town of London, of which nobody knows its peer.' 

Of the castles, in which the feudal lords lived, 
I have said something in my third chapter ; and it 
may be worth noting here, that we have or had in 
Norfolk some of the most interesting manor-houses 
in England. 

The names of Oxburgh, Beaupre Hall at E. Bar- 
sham, Wallington, Arminghall, Stiffkey, Caister, and 
of many others, will occur to my readers. In all, the 
comfort and health of the occupants was studied to 
a degree for which our ancestors do not usually get 
credit, and a house built now on the strict lines of an 
oM manor-house or castle — not on the mock Gothic 
of which ShadwcU Court is so painful an example — 
would be far from uncomfortable. They had not, of 
course, the advantages of recent sanitary discoveries, 
but the precautions they took to secure pure water 
and to carry away the sewage were remarkable. 
Half the mythical stories of subterranean passages 
— one of which at least is told of every old house — 
have arisen from the accidental discovery of the great 
old arched sewers, which were wisely made so large 
that there was never any chance of their being choked 
up. The rooms and passages, if they were a little 

1 24 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

chilly in the winter, through their size and loftiness, 
must have been always free from that stuffiness and 
want of ventilation which spoil so man}' modern 

No better idea of the great personal luxury of 
some of the squires can be given, than by reproducing 
a summary of an inventory of Sir John Fastolfs 
goods, taken in 1459. From the description of * my 
master's chamber,' we can almost see the room as it 
stood, over 400 years ago. There is the bedstead 
with its mattress (donge) of fine blue, and a feather- 
bed, and a bolster on it as well as a pair of blankets, 
:i pair of sheets and a counterpane. Over it is the 
hanging bed, the tester, and the canopy, and a 
covering. At the windows are three green worsted 
curtains. On a form is a ' banker,' or covering of 
tapestry ; on the walls are four more green worsted 
hangings, no doubt to match the curtains, as would 
the ' cupboard-cloth ' hiding the cupboard door. By 
the fireplace are two standing * andirons,' a latten 
chafing-dish, a pair of tongs, a pair of bellows, and 
what the copyist calls a * feddefflok," but which, I 
suspect, is a misreading for a * feed-hook ' or instru- 
ment for making up the fire. On a little pallet, 
probably for his attendant, are two blankets, a pair 
of sheets, and a coverlet, while on a folding-table are 
two little bells to summon attendants ; a long (easy) 
chair and six white cushions, and a green chair, the 
room being lit by a hanging candlestick of latten. 

The sideboard and cupboards of plate are simply 
astonishing. His gold plate weighed 121 oz., the 

The Gentler Life. 125 

silver 17,848 oz. ! One can hardly fancy a squire 
with half a ton avoirdupois of plate. Nor is the 
description of his immense wardrobe much less 
curious, and the details of the cloths of arras and 
tapestry are especially interesting — showing how they 
depicted gentlemen with hawks on wrist ; giants 
with bears' legs in their hands ; three archers shoot- 
ing a duck in the water with a cross-bow ; gentle- 
women harping by a castle ; men drawing water 
from a well, and so on. The personal luxury must, 
in this case at all events, have been very great, 
for pillows of down and pillows of lavender were all 
over the house, as were feather-beds even in the 
cook's chamber and the porter's chamber, and it was 
only the stablem.en who had to put up with mat- 
tresses. Possibly the weather was colder then than 
now, and men had to lie warmer, and certainly, with 
the great abundance of fowl, feathers were cheaper. 

That there were, however, many houses furnished 
like this, I doubt. Certainly, the * town ' houses or 
private inns at Norwich and Lynn were not; indeed, 
they seem to have been only caravansaries, for in 
1477 provision had to be sent in to one at Norwich 
— a dozen of ale and bread being brewed and baked 
against the master's coming from the country.* 

The custom of sending out cooked food was not 
unusual, but it certainly does seem strange to modern 
ears to read of how the Mayor and Mayoress of 

* Nearly every Norfolk family of note, by the way, had its 
'town' house at Norwich, for the inns were not large enough or 
good enough to accommodate their trains of retainers. 

126 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Norwich, when they came out to Hellesdon to dine 
with Margaret Paston in 1460, sent their dinner 
before them. 

I can add little to what is actually known about 
the usual mediaeval potables. No doubt men 
chiefly drank a strong red wine, something 
between port and claret, and the only entry of 
note I have come across is one in which Friar 
Brackley writes in 1460 of having * malvesey ' and 
* tyre,' which latter is said to have been a bitter 
drink, and of giving a man a * potel of swete wyne.* 
The fountains running wine, of which we read so 
much in chronicles, were apparently reproduced in 
miniature on the table, for we find * a fountain of 
latten to set in pots of wine ' mentioned in John 
Fastolfs inventory just cited. By the way, I found 
an old drinking proverb embedded in one of the 
Paston Letters, dated 1473. * Bear the cup even as 
what-call-ye-him said to Aslak.' 

Whilst on odd sayings, I may point out that they 
swore ' by Blackboard or Whitebeard ' — said to mean 
by God or by Devil, and talked of a thing being ' nee 
Dacok nee Facok,' which I do not understand. 

The routine of the dinner-table, and the rough 
hospitality shown at it, the profusion of fresh fish 
and meat and fowl at one time of the year, and the 
dreary reiteration of salt-fish and salt-beef — broken 
only by a little coarse kale and herbs — at the other, 
are too well known to need repetition here ; though 
anyone curious in such matters can find all he wants 
in the L'Estrange household books. Some few 

The Gentler Life. 127 

notes of out-of-the-way viands and zests may, how- 
ever, be amusing — I need hardly say that they occur in 
the * Paston Letters' — practically our only storehouse 
of such material. In 1452, Margaret Paston wrote 
to London for a * booke Vv^ith chardeqweyns ' (which 
Mr. Gairdner interprets 'quince preserve'), that she 
may have them in the mornings, as the air was not 
wholesome. By the same letter, by the way, she be- 
spoke twenty-four trenchers, as she could get 
none in Norwich, which seems strange. Oranges 
were sent her in 1470, by the carrier. Next year 
she wrote to her London correspondent for the 
prices per pound of pepper, cloves, 'masis' (mace), 
ginger, cinnamon, almonds, raisens, 'ganyngal,'* 
saffron, * raisons of Corons ' and ' grenys ' (grains of 
paradise). Later on, two pots of treacle of * genore ' 
(Genoa ?) are sent for. 

Of the hospitality itself there can be no doubt. It 
obtains now, and hearty and sincere have been its 
praises from strangers; as, for example, when Stothard 
in his memoirs says that when he was sketching the 
monuments in Ingham Church, ' the gentlemen 
farmers were extremely eager to serve me . . . With 
one or the other I might have dined every day.' 
But this very hospitality often proved a tax on its 
recipient, for the system of giving * vails ' grew to 
such an extent that it is recorded that at an enter- 
tainment in 1800, ' the whole household from the 
butler to the scullion stood in two ranks in the hall 
* Ganyngal (?) = Galingale. 

I2S yi Popular History of Norfolk. 

to receive the parting present.' The system is said 
to have been knocked on the head by a poor Cromer 
parson bluntly telling the squire at Fclbrigg that he 
was obliged to decline his invitation to dinner because 
he could not afford to pay for one dinner what would 
provide housekeeping at home for a whole month. 
This, however, is rather a digression. 

One frequently stumbles across passages in old 
records which make one doubt whether the chival- 
rous deference and tenderness to the fair sex wc read 
so much about was not more theoretical than real. 
For example, the conduct of Sir Henry do Scagrave, 
Knight, and his followers, who came in 131 2 to the 
manor-house at Barningham parva, and pricked the 
mother of William de Barningham with swords, and 
cut her with knives, to make her tell them of her 
jewels, money, and plate, does not exactly accord 
with the knightly duties to woman of which we read 
in works of chivalry. The King, however, does not 
seem to have thought very much about the matter, 
for when the discourteous knight was indicted he 
was able to produce the royal pardon. 

Nor was it exactly polite for Sir John Felbrigg to 
drag Dame Margery Wymondham out of Felbrigg 
Hall by the hair of her head, because they differed 
as to who was entitled to its possession ; and we 
must not forget the fact that Elizabeth Paston, when 
a grown-up girl, about the year 1449, was beaten 
once or twice a week, and sometimes twice in one 
day, and had her head broken in two or three places 
by her loving parent. Later on we shall see how 

The Gentler Life. 129 

thieves of lower degree beat old women over eighty 
on the head so that they caused them wounds to the 

Possibly it was some such proofs of affection 
that caused Margery Paston to brave the terrors 
of a mesalliance and pluckily marry the family 
steward, and so cause her brother to write in high 
dudgeon that the man * never should have my good- 
will for to make my sister to sell candle and mustard 
at Framlingham.' 

The marrying and giving in marriage of the upper 
classes was in the earlier middle ages so much a 
matter of pure business, in which the lady was hardly 
ever consulted, that such escapades were rare indeed, 
and one must not wonder at the excessively business- 
like way in which a matrimonial alliance was negoti- 
ated even by those who were free to choose for 
themselves. Mr. Hewlett in the Antiquary, some 
time ago, pointed out the gruesome fact that a young 
lady of property, who on her death was found to have 
been fatua ct idiota from her birth, was married to an 
unhappy lad, and actually had two children by him. 

What, again, can be more unsentimental than the 
following letter from one brother to another, written 
in 1481 ? The writer, it will be seen, goes straight 
to his subject : * I heartily recommend myself to you. 
There is lately become a widow in ^Vorstead who was 
wife to one Bolt, a worstead merchant, and worth 
5^1000, and gave, to his wife 100 marks in money, stuff 
of household, and plate to the value of 100 marks, and 
£10 by the year in land. She is called a fair gentle- 


1 30 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

woman. She is about 30 years, and has only two 
children, which shall be at the dead's charge (!). She 
was his wife but five years.' One can almost fancy 
'one Bolt' turning in his grave as this letter was 

Five years earlier a strange love-letter was written 
by John Paston to a girl he had never seen, but of 
whose charms he had heard from his ' right trusty 
friend,' R. Stratton (clerk to his kitchen !), in which 
he beseeches her to ease the poor heart which was 
sometime at his rule, but which is now at hers — not 
so bad to a person he had never even seen ; and the 
curious part of it is that she reciprocates her unseen 
lover's passion, and replies just as warmly, possibly 
glad of a chance to get rid of her pent-up sentiment, 
and escape in thought from a hum-drum life. That 
the women then were as artful as they are now is 
clear enough, teste, the neat subterfuge which Con- 
dona Reynforth suggests to her lover, whom she 
loved not wisely but too well, in 1478, asking him to 
write a fictitious letter to the cousin in whose charge 
she was, calling her away on an imaginary errand. 

Of the literary tastes of the early gentry and 
squires we know little but what is told us in their 
wills. A testator who died in 1482 had * La Belle 
Dame saunce mercye,' * The Death of Arthur,' a 
book on the blazoning of arms, Tully ' de Senec- 
tute, ' and — oh that it were rightly so now! — 'A 
Boke in preente off the Playe of the Chess.' 

The squires were great tillers and flock-holders ; 
their 'farmers' were more stewards than lease- 

The Gentler Life. 131 

holders, and the lords collected most of their rent in 
kind. It must have been a patriarchal life ; for 
example, Sir Christopher Heydon used to give a 
Christmas dinner to thirty master shepherds of his 
own flocks at Baconsthorpe. 

Norfolk is well enough known even now for its 
sport and its game, but it must in early times have 
simply been the sportsman's paradise. Sandy 
warrens alive with rabbits and peopled with bus- 
tards on the south, great impassable fresh-water 
marshes on the west, salt-water marshes and cliff on 
the north, and the great inland water system of the 

* Broads,' with their herons, ruffs and reeves, and wild- 
duck on the east, must have combined to have sup- 
plied fish, flesh, and fowl enough for everyone. It 
was close to these Broads — at Waxham — where Sir 
William Wodehouse, of that place, who was 
then James I.'s jester, introduced the 'decoy' 
system for wild-fov/1 into England. There were 
great coursing-meetings in early days, that at Swaff- 
ham being perhaps the best known then, as Mart- 
ham is now. 

A * Norfolk tumbler " was a dog specially trained 
to affect lameness, and so get within catching-dis- 
tance of his quarry. Coke sent one to Salisbury to 

* play on Salisbury warren,' as we see in the Domestic 
State Papers of James I. 

Otters, of course, were very plentiful, with so much 
undrained land and so many pools and rivers. Each 
fresh-water fisherman between the town of Conisford 
and Hardley Cross was ordered, in 1557, to keep a 



132 A Pop7ilar History of Norfolk. 

dog to hunt the otter, and all the fishermen were * to 
make a general hunt twice or thrice a year or more 
at time or times convenient.' In 1729, six residents 
at Palsgrave, over the Suffolk border, killed seventeen 
brace of otters between March and May, which will 
give some idea of how plentiful they must have been. 
Quite recently there used to be some otter-hunting 
near Norwich ; but they are getting scarcer every 
year, and it is now only by Reedham, and in a few 
other places, that the early and late oarsman is 
startled by the heavy plunge of the handsome beast, 
or sees the evidence of his mischief on the bank. 

Of the * Norfolk trotters ' we find early mention ; 
Margaret Paston writing to her husband, in 1460, 
that three horses had been bought for him at St. 
Faith's Fair, and that they * all be Trotters, right 
fair horses, God save them, and they be well kept.' 
Norfolk horse-lovers do not, however, seem above 
improving their breed, for in 1477 John Pimpe 
writes to a friend at Calais begging him to look at 
all the good horses there for a prick horse, well 
trotting of his own courage without force of spurs — 
if a stirring horse so much the better — somewhat 
large, though not the largest — but no small horse. 
He says he does not like a heavy horse in labour, but 
a heavy horse in flesh and light in courage he loves 
well ; for he loves no horses that will always be lean 
and slender like greyhounds. 

Norfolk seems always to have been a sporting 
county. There were many race-meetmgs in old 
times here ; for example, on Mouschold Heath, in the 

The Gentler Life. 133 

park at Blickling, at Winterton, at Swaff ham (where 
a gold cup was given for three-year-olds at a mile in 
one heat), and at Thetford, the articles and subscrip- 
tions for which, in i6g8, i6gg, and 1700 are still 
preserved in the Bodleian Library. Lord Vernon is 
said to have trained his famous horse * Florizel ' on 
Ringstead Downs, and Mr. Angerstein's unfortunate 
experiences with Arabs is familiar to the present 

In Attleburgh Church lies ' the famous Captain 
Gibbs,' who was a great gamester and horseracer in 
Charles IL's time, and of whom the greatest 
exploit recorded was how he * laid a wager of £"500 
that he drove his light chaise and four horses up and 
down the deepest part of the Devil's Ditch on New- 
market Heath ; which he performed by making a 
very light chaise with a jointed perch and without 
any pole, to the surprise of all the spectators.' That 
he was not the only * clever ' sportsman of his day 
will be seen from the following anecdote of SirThos. 
Jermyn, from the L'Estrange Collection, known as 
the 'Anecdotes and Traditions' (Cam. Soc.) : 

' Sir Thos. Jermin, meaning to make himself 
merry and gull the Cockers, sends his man into the 
Pitt in Shoo Lane with an £100 and a dunghill 
cocke, neatly trimmed and cutt for the battell. The 
plot being well layd, the fellow gets another to throw 
him in and fyte him in Sir Thos. Jermin's name. 
The fellow beates the £100 against him. The cocke 
was match't, and bearing Sir Thos. Jermin's name, 
had many beates on his head ; but after three or 

134 ^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

four good brushes he shewe a faire payre of heeles. 
Every one wond'red to see Sir Thomas his streine 
cry craven ; and away came his man with his money 

Another good local sporting story from the same 
collection is that about the Puritan chaplain and the 
bowls, viz. : 

* My Lord Brookes used to be much resorted to by 
the preciser sort, who had made good a powerful hand 
over him ; yet they would allow him Christian 
libertie for his recreations ; but being at bowles one 
day, in much company, and following his caste with 
much eagernesse, he cried, " Rubbe, rubbe, rubbe, 
rubbe, rubbe !" His chaplain (a very strict mann) 
runns presently to him, and in the hearing of diverse, 
** O good my Lord, leave that to God — you must 
leave that to God," sayes he.' 

William Windham, the statesman and the darling 
of the county, was a thorough sportsman. When at 
Eton he was leader of the school at all games. He 
seems to have been a- man of great pluck and per- 
sonal strength, for he quelled a mutiny in the W 
Battalion of the local militia by his personal prowess 
— seizing the leader and thrashing two of his 
followers. In 1794, too, when he was stoned at 
Norwich during the election, he jumped out of his 
carriage and collared his assailant. Bibliomaniacs 
will remember him kindly when they hear that he 
lost his life trying to save a friend's library which 
was being burned. 

Stone-throwing at elections seems to have been the 

The Gentler Life: 135 

regular thing, for when another well-known Norfolk 
politician and athlete — the Hon. E. Harbord — was 
being stoned at Norwich, he, being a great cricketer, 
pleased everyone by the address with which ha 
caught the stones flung at his head. 

Talking of cricket, by the way, it may startle lovers 
of the game to be told that in 1797 Norfolk was 
strong enough to be backed against * All England ' 
for £100 ! 

Of eccentric sportsmen ot late years we have had 
plenty of the Windham type, but the strangest of all 
was the half-mad Walpole of a generation or two 
back — * Lord George ' — who used to drive red-deer 
four in hand, and on one occasion only just got home 
in time in front of a pack of hounds which had run 
his strange team to sight. 

He had his good qualities, and they are set out at 
page 211 of the first volume of * Pratt's Gleanings; 
but his eccentricities culminated when he declined to 
allow the body of his dead mistress to be buried, but 
hid it away in a dark cupboard under some old boots, 
fearing it would be taken from him. 

I have hitherto touched on the home-life and its 
pleasures and amusements only, but there must have 
been a very seamy side to the country gentleman's 
existence, caused by what would now be called the 
* rough ' element, and by the bands of thieves. 
About 23 Edward I., for example, Lessingham Hall 
was broken into, a servant killed, and goods to the 
value of 5^200 stolen by the same gang, who robbed 

136 A Papula)' History of Norfolk. 

the house of Roger Herman and carried away £"400 
in silver, and who killed and robbed a man between 
Hcnstcad and Eccles. The Crown Plea and Gaol 
Delivery Rolls for Norfolk simply teem with similar 
examples. Possibly the great quantity of ' brueria,' 
or land grown over with briars and furze and thereby 
almost impassable, favoured the thieves by givingthem 
cover in which to hide. About 1332, especially, the 
time must have been lawless indeed, for at one gaol 
delivery twenty-seven persons were sentenced to be 
hung — though, thanks to the King's pardon (no 
doubt purchased as usual), and to the intervention of 
the ordinary, five only of them were executed. Six- 
teen were convicted for murder, but not one was 
hung, the King and their book-learning saving the 
rest. A grimmer commentary on the sanctity of 
property could not be imagined than the fact that 
those who suffered did so for theft, and not murder. 
That many of the murderers, however, were not cf 
the common classes, but of the gentry, is clear : for 
example, Magister Richard de Blomvile and others 
killed Patrick de Burghwode, in Newton Flotman, 
and his goods were worth lOOS. ; and Sir Thomas de 
Nerford, knight, slew Harvey de Saham ; again. Sir 
John de Cove, knight, actually assaulted Robert de 
Halle in the presence of the bailiff of Norwich. 
There is little doubt that some villages must have 
been little better than the place described in 
* Westward Ho ' as the rendezvous of the King of 
the Gubbins; as, for example, Garboldisham, no 
less than five of the inhabitants of which were 

The Gentler Life. 137 

tried at one Gaol Delivery for distinct crimes and 

Vindictive attacks on private individuals were not 
infrequent. Blood's idea was anticipated in 1423, 
when John Grys of Wighton was attacked in his own 
house, after wassail, and carried, with his son and 
his servant, to a gallows to be hung ; but as the mur- 
derers could find no ropes they cruelly butchered 
them another way. A few years later (1461) the 
parson of Snoring fetched Thomas Denys, then 
Coroner for Norfolk, out of his own house, and he 
was cruelly murdered; all that was done to the 
villain-priest being that he was put in the stocks — 
a singular punishment for being accessory to a 

Just before this, in 1452, a band of blackguards 
under one Charles Nowell infested the east part of 
Norfolk, and went out marauding six, twelve, and 
even thirty or more strong. They tried to kill two 
servants of the Bishop of Norwich in Burlingham 
Church while mass was being sung there ; they tried 
to break into the White Friars at Norwich, avowedly 
to get out, dead or alive, some citizens against whom 
they had a grudge ; they attacked John Paston at the 
door of Norwich Cathedral, and his wife's uncle, 
Philip Berney, on the same day in Thorpe Wood, 
and, what is more astonishing, Roger Church, one 
of the gang, was actually appointed baihff of Blofield 
Hundred. Then they broke the parson of Hassing- 
ham's head in his own chancel ; beat John Wilton in 
Plumstead churchyard to the danger of his Hfe ; and 

138 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

broke into the house of John Coke, of Witton, at 
II p.m., and gave him seven sword wounds; and 
beat his old mother, a woman of eighty, over the 
head, * wheche wownde was never hoi to the daye 
of her deth.' 

So far of 'strong thieves.' The resident in the 
manor-house might at all events raise the hue-and-cry 
against ihcm, and be sure of his neighbours' eager 
co-operation ; but what could he do when it was the 
neighbour himself who battered at his gate? On 
the raids on Barningham and Felbrigg I have 
touched already; but the most lively idea of the woes 
of a family from intestine war is gained, z.s most 
information of this period is gained, from the ' Paston 
Letters.' The Pastons were besieged in three of 
their houses — Gresham, Hellesdon, and Caister. In 
1450, Lord Molynes came to Paston's moated house 
at Gresham (Paston not being at home) with a 
thousand armed men, broke open the outer gates, 
forcibly carried out the lady of the house, rifled it of 
£200, cut the door-posts through, and left, remarking 
that if they had found Paston's friend, John Damme, 
they would have killed the said John. Their manor- 
house at Hellesdon by Norwich was raided in 1465 
by the Duke of Suffolk, who made the tenants pull 
it down themselves; and not satisfied with that, ran- 
sacked the church, evicted the parson, and spoiled 
the images. Next, the same duke, in 1469, besieged 
Caister with 3,000 men, and reduced it by starvation, 
two men only being killed. In 147S he looked in 

The Gentler Life. 139 

again at Hellesdon, but apparently only to annoy 
Paston, for he only * drew a stew and took great 
plenty of fish.' The irate retainer, who described 
the scene to Paston, wrote that no man could play 
the part of Herod better than the duke ; and tells 
how, in the hot summer afternoon, he was so feeble 
that his feet could not bear him, so two men held 
him up ; and w^hen some of his men said Paston 
should be slain and others that he should be put in 
prison only, the duke wanted no better than to meet 
him with a spear and have his heart's blood with his 
own hands — a pleasant sentiment no doubt recipro- 
cated by Paston. 

After all, these violent aggressions on the Pastons 
may have had a reason for them. We only hear the 
Paston side of the story. 

That the principals did not think it beneath them 
to commission men to assassinate their opponents, is 
evident from the naive, way in which a servant writes 
to a master (1451) that ' Gonnor was watched at 
Felbrigg Hall with forty of the lady's tenants and 
more that night that I lay in wait for him,' and that he 
durst not go home on the next day till they ' brought 
him home ' safe. 

As civilization went on, the * duello ' proved a use- 
ful modification of the feud and the assassination, 
and was decidedly a step in the right direction. A 
history of Norfolk duels and their causes would be 
interesting reading, though in many cases we should 
probably get to know nothing more of them than 

140 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

what the parish register tells us, as where at Down- 
ham we read: * 1601. — Richard Guibon, of Stow 
Brinke, slain in fight, within the parish of Downham, 
by one Clarke of Fincham, was buried the 4th of 
July.' Of the celebrated duel, fought in November, 
1599, between Sir Robert Mansfield and Sir John 
Hcydon, just outside Ber Street, however, we have 
a full account. The former received two rapier- 
wounds in the breast and two dagger-stabs in the 
arm, but had much the better of the fight; for he not 
only wounded his antagonist in the face and in the 
thigh, but forced him to sign a paper of submission. 
They seem, however, to have met again afterwards, 
and Heydon had still worse luck, for he lost one of his 
hands, which is said to be still kept in the museum 
at Canterbury, where it was placed by a descendant 
of the victor. The full account is printed at pp. 
166-7 of Mason's * History of Norfolk,' where will 
also be found a challenge from Thomas Lovell to Sir 
Richard Bacon, dated 1600. 

The example seems to have been contagious, for 
in 1603 John Townshend died of wounds received 
in a duel with Sir Matthew Brown ; and his son, 
Stanhope Townshend, was also killed in a duel in the 
Low Countries. In 1634, Sir William Whittipole 
fought Sir A. Gorge at Calais, but I do not know 
with what result, and it is rather doubtful if they can 
be called Norfolk men. 

In 1700, Sir Sewster Peyton killed one King, of 
Bury, and was tried at Norfolk assizes, but he too 
was hardly a Norfolk man ; and in 1708, Sir 

The Gentler Life. 141 

Edmund Bacon ran Sir Robert Rich through the 

A fatal duel took place in 1698, in which Captain 
Le Neve killed Sir Henry Hobart, The latter 
accused the former of spreading a report that he was 
a coward, and behaved himself so in Ireland, by 
which it is said he lost his Cornish election. Le 
Neve denied having said so, but Hobart would fight, 
and was killed. A stone in a plantation on the road 
leading from Norwich to Holt marks where the 
unsuccessful politician and duellist fell. 

Of course, one cannot hope now to recover the 
reasons for all the bygone quarrels, but I think it 
very likely that many of them arose from disputes 
between the old and the new gentry as to pedigree 
and position. The early knights made by James 
I. were not thought much of, and we hear that Sir 
Edmund Thimblethorp (who was said to have been 
knighted in 1603 for ^j los. !) was usually called 
' Nimblechoppes.' One dispute, though it did not 
lead to a duel, was nearly as serious a matter for 
one of the contestants ; for in 1541, Mr. Clere and 
Sir Edmund Knevet happening to quarrel in the 
King's tennis-court at Greenwich, the latter foolishly 
struck the former within the Palace precincts, for 
which he was adjudged to have his right hand struck 
off with a chopper. Just before the sentence was 
carried out, however, he asked as a special favour to 
have his left hand cut off instead, so that he might 
still do the King some service with his right, upon 
which he was pardoned altogether. 

142 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Singularly enough, the same story is also told of 
Edmund Windham and Clere ; and it is said that 
Windham afterwards did do good service in suppress- 
ing Rett's rebellion, and that his descendant was 
practically the discoverer of the Gunpowder plot. 

Of the earlier duels there is not much known. 
Some of them were of course only gentle and more 
or less joyous passages of arms, as when Sir Thomas 
* Harpurgun ' (Erpingham) fought Sir John de Barres, 
in the way told by Froissart, or when Sir John 
Astley fought two Frenchmen in 1438 and 1442, in 
one of which he was lucky enough to * smite Pierre 
de Massie through the head with a spear ;' but some 
must have been uncommonly like murder, for in 9th 
John we read of Hugh Patesle being sued by John 
the brother of Drugo Camerarius for the death of 
the latter, and of his compromising the matter by 
arranging to go to Jerusalem for seven years (includ- 
ing going and coming), to serve God for the 'slain 
man's soul,' while Thomas de Ingoldesthorpc, who 
seems to have had something to do with the affair, 
had to find a monk to pray for the soul of the dead 
man, and to pay his parents forty marks. 

It is sad to think of the lives that must have been 
lost in the olden time through the leeches' want of 
skill. I cannot help thinking the patients and their 
friends were grimly conscious of it, and in case of 
real illness, prepared for death as a matter of course, 
or only appealed to spiritual help. When John 
Paston fell ill away from home, his worthy mother 

The Gentler Life. 143 

sent an image of wax of the patient's weight (' a 
nodyr ymmage of wax of the weytte of yow ') to our 
Lady of Walsingham, and a noble apiece to the four 
orders of Friars at Norwich to pray for him, while 
his anxious wife posted off on pilgrimage herself to 
Walsingham and the Priory of St. Leonard at 
Norwich. The language of some of the wills is so 
earnest, that I cannot help thinking it was the dying 
man's own, dictated on his death-bed. Sir Thomas 
Wyndham, in 1521, after committing his soul to God, 
goes on in a way that makes one fancy he must have 
held views then almost dangerous, to * trust that by 
the special grace and mercy of thy mother, ever 
virgin, our Lady Mary, in whom, after thee, in this 
mortal life, hath been my most singular trust and 
confidence,' and so on. 

After the death comes the mourning, and, as one 
might expect, it was punctilious. When Margaret 
Paston was bereaved, a precedent had to be sought ; 
and Lady Morley and Lady Stapleton, who had 
themselves recently lost their husbands, were asked 
what was the right thing to do in ' places of worship,' 
and decided that at Christmas-tide, after the death, 
there should be no diceings, nor harpings, nor luting, 
nor singing, nor loud disports, but only playing at the 
tables, chess, and cards. 



HE life of the rich burghers, when the 
worsted trade was at its best, must have 
been one of considerable luxury. An 
amusing instance, showing how they 
sometimes defied sumptuary laws and aped the 
gentry, is in the old story how Sir Philip Calthorp* 
* purged John Drakes the shoomaker of Norwich in 
the time of King Henry the Eighth of the proud 
humour which our people have to bee of the gentle- 
man's cut': 

* This Knight bought on a time as much fine 
French tawney cloth as should make him a gowne, 
and sent it to the taylors to bee made. John Drakes, 
a shoomaker of that town, coming to the sayd 
taylours, and seeing the Knights gowne-cloth lying 
there, liking it well, caused the taylour to buy him 
as much of the same cloth and price to the same 
intent, and further bade him of the same fashion 
that the Knight would have his made of. Not long 

*L\. N. iii., p. 217. 

The Town Life. 145 

after, the Knight, coming to the taylours to take 
measure of his gowne, perceiving the Hke gowne- 
cloth lying there, asked the taylour whose it was. 
Quoth the taylor, " It is John Drakes's, who will 
have it made of the selfsame fashion that yours is 
made of." " Well " (sayd the Knight), " in good 
time be it. I will " (sayd hee) " have mine made as 
full of cutts as thy shears can make it." " It shall 
be done," said the taylor. Whereupon, because the 
time drew near, he made haste of both their gar- 
ments. John Drake had no time to go to the taylors 
till Christmass Day for serving of customers, when 
he had hoped to have worn his gowne. Perceiving 
the same to be full of cutts, began to sweare with the 
taylor for making his gowne after that sort. " I 
have done nothing " (quoth the taylor) " but that 
you bade me to do ; for as Sir Philip Calthorp's is, 
even so have I made yours." "By my latchet " 
(quoth John Drake), " I will never weare gentleman's 
fashion again !" ' 

The inner life of the townsman was so bound up 
with his guilds, trade, and religion, that probably no 
more striking picture of the manners and customs of 
the town can be obtained than by a careful inspec- 
tion of the guild certificates, which were taken in the 
I2th Richard II. by order of the Government. Some 
years ago I carefully analyzed* the certificates of 
Lynn Regis, with the following results, which may- 
serve to illustrate my meaning : 

* N. A. M, i., p. 141. (Privately printed.) 


146 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

The guilds were originated, no doubt, by the small 
chaplains and minor priests in much the same way, 
and for much the same objects, as the present Benefit 
and Friendly Societies are by enterprising publicans, 
viz., to bring grist to the mill. A flourishing guild, 
which maintained a chaplain and kept a light ever 
burning before an image or a shrine, and which 
buried its dead with pomp and paid for many 
masses annually, was no bad customer to the 

Sometimes, possibly, a layman originated it, and 
this would no doubt be the case in the merchants' or 
trade guilds, in which religion played a less important 

Such founder was, it is thought, relieved from pay- 
ment of all subscriptions, etc., in return for the 
trouble he had taken. 

As far as possible, the framers of the guild rules 
seem to have desired to keep their members indepen- 
dent of the common law, and some of their rules 
were very salutar}% 

Disputes among members were, as much as might 
be, to be settled by agreement or reference ; and no 
member could bring a suit at law against another 
without obtaining leave from the alderman, and no 
brother was allowed to become a pledge or surety 
for another in any plea or suit without similar leave 
(Shipman's). In another guild, any quarrel was to 
be settled, if possible, by the alderman, and if not, 
the parties might proceed to the law where they 

The Town Life. 147 

Any brother or sister bearing another any false- 
hood or wrong had to pay half-a-pound of wax to 
the light (St. Peter). In another case, anyone 
guilty of any falsehood, theft, or wrong, was to leave 
the fraternity for ever. 

Anyone rebelling against the laws of Holy Church 
to lose the benefits of the guild until amendment 
(St. Leonard) ; and a similar penalty overtook him 
who was rebel against the King and unbuxom against 
the Church. 

He who was * rebel or unbuxom ' against the 
alderman in time of drink or of morwspeche, paid 
four pounds of wax. But a far heavier penalty, 
viz., two stone of wax, was incurred by the man who 
disclosed the secrets of the guild to any strange man 
or woman. 

Other guilds visited the sin of betraying secrets 
far more lightly, imposing a penalty of one pound 
only ; but another guild had a rule ' that no brother or 
sister shall discuse the conseil of his fraternity to ne 
strangere ' on pain of forfeiture of his fraternity for 

Besides the religious meetings referred to here- 
after, there were generally three or four mornspeches, 
morwspeches, or speakings, or business meetings, 
when, as the certificate of the Guild of Young 
Scholars tells us, it was the duty of the master of the 
guild to see that the guild goods had been properly 
spent and accounted for. 

The meetings were held at the Guild Hall, and 
were fixed for certain days, generally named in the 

10 — 2 

148 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

ordinances of each guild, though in one case the 
alderman had power to fix their date. 

In any case the dean had to give notice or remind 
the members of these meetings, and if he failed to 
do so was fined for each case. 

Every member who, being in Lynn on the day of 
meeting, did not attend, was fined, as was anyone 
who did not come punctually to the trysting hour, 
after prime struck, or after prime thrice struck. 

If, annoyed at being fined for being a few minutes 
late, he should 'set him down and grucche' 
(grumble), he was doubly fined or turned out of the 

Business then began. 

The skevyns, or stewards, first put in written 
accounts for the past year and vouched them, and 
statements were made how the guild goods had been 
expended. The remaining guild chattels or goods 
were sometimes, it seems, produced before the alder- 
man at the general meeting, and the skevyns who 
were chosen for the following year had to give 
security for the guild property. 

The election of officers for the ensuing year then 
commenced. The officers were an alderman, one or 
two skevyns, and a dean, and sometimes a clerk. 

Such officers were not, it seems, chosen by the 
general body of members, though why not, it would 
be difficult to say ; but the general method was for 
the outgoing alderman to call up four or more 
brethren whose business it was to choose them 
In one case the four chosen by the alderman called 

The Town Life. 149 

up four more, and the eight chose the officials — a far 
more sensible way. 

When elected, the new aldermen and other officials 
made oath before the old aldermen to keep the ordi- 
nances of the guild. 

The offices of aldermen and skevyns seem to have 
been entirely honorary, and no salary, nor, as far as 
I can make out, any emolument, save an extra allow- 
ance of ale, attached to them. 

The dean and clerk were, however, paid servants, 
their annual salaries being generally sixpence and 
eightpence respectively, yearly, and upon them, 
probably, the real management of the business 

Anyone chosen to fill any one of the guild offices, 
but refusing to act, was fined according to the 
dignity of the office he renounced: — an alderman, 
say, two pounds, a skevyn one pound, and a dean 
half-a-pound of wax, which no doubt went in aid of 
the guild light. 

The alderman was to be ... ' wise and witty . . . 
able and cunning to rule and govern the company in 
the worship of God.' 

The skevyns were to be 'trust men, and true to 
keep and receive the goods and chattels of the guild ;' 
half of them in St. Francis's guilds were to be 
friars, this guild being kept in the convent of Friars 

The dea7t was to 'warn the guild brethren as is 
the custom in the town of Lynn,' or to warn them to 
come together when the alderman sent for them, or 

150 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

on any other occasion which might be to the honour 
and worship of the guild. 

The clerk was to write and enter the names and 
necessaries of the guild. 

After the election of officials, it is probable 
that a yearly election of ordinary members took 
place. In two guilds we know that it is so, for the 
rules state that new members shall be admitted only 
at general meetings, except by the assent of all. 

A candidate for election in some cases had to be 
introduced by two brethren, who testified that he 
was a good man and able, and of good conversation. 
A countryman might be elected at any time, if known 
to be of good conversation. 

On being admitted, the new member was sworn 
by the alderman to keep the statutes. 

On entrance, the new member paid a certain sum 
towards the guild stock, varying according to the 
importance of the guild, and also fees (' the rights of 
the house ') to the alderman, dean, and clerk, and a 
contribution to the wax stock. 

When all the elections were over, no doubt the 
annual subscriptions were got in, and the charitable 
contributions, which each member was bound to 
make for the benefit of the poor brethren, were 
collected. The guild statutes were to be read out at 
each meeting by the alderman, who was fined if he 
did not do so. 

This done, we can imagine the table would be 
spread for the guild feast, and from the great stress 
all the certificates lay on the quantums of ale, and 

The Town Life. 151 

from the penalties attached on anyone who impro- 
perly entered the ale chamber, which no doubt 
adjoined the Guild Hall, I cannot but think that 
originally there was a great deal of drinking to very 
little eating. 

Before drinking, however, the light belonging to 
the guild was lit, and the clerk stood up and bade 
silence while he prayed or said the bedes for the 
peace and state of Holy Church and the peace and 
state of the land. And anyone making a noise or 
jangling during prayer-time was fined. 

The alderman's allowance of ale, * while it lasteth,' 
was generally two gallons, the skevyns a gallon, the 
dean a pottle, and the clerk a pottle. 

* While it lasteth ' sounds much as if the carouse 
were kept on dc die in diem till the liquor was spent, 
and in fact this is borne out by one certificate, which 
refers to prayers offered ' every night while drink 

Absent friends, however, were not forgotten, and 
the brethren decidedly drank fair whatever they did, 
for any brother or sister absent at drinking-time, 
whether from illness or from being on pilgrimage 
had a gallon of ale set by for him. 

Members were expected to be on their best be- 
haviour during both business and convivial meetings. 

Anyone jangling in time of drink or mornspeche, 
or making any other noise to annoy the company, 
after the dean had called him to order by command- 
ing him to be still, paid half-a-pound of wax (St. 
John Baptist), and anyone still persevering in his 

152 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

obnoxious conduct had to do penance by taking or 
holding the rod tendered him by the alderman. He 
was also further fined, and if still recalcitrant, ejected 
from the brotherhood. 

If anyone maliciously gave his brother the lie, or 
was rebellious of his tongue against, or despised the 
alderman, he too was fined (St. Thomas of Canter- 
bury and Conception). For graver offences the 
punishment was yet heavier, and anyone striking 
another at any mornspeche or time of drink, had to 
pay four pounds of wax (Holy Cross). 

The hardest rule to my mind, however, was that 
which fined a man overcome by the potency of the 
guild brew* for sleeping in time of drink, or letting 
the cup stand by him (Conception and St. Ed- 

These regulations were doubtless found necessary 
by experience, and as there is seldom smoke without 
fire, we may well imagine these drinking-bouts were 
not the most orderly affairs, and were not altogether 
free from jangling, noise, and drunken sleep. No 
one was to come in a tabard, nor in a cloak, nor 
barelegged nor barefoot (St. Thomas of Canterbury, 
Conception, and St. Edmund), nor with his cap or 
hood on,t nor in any rustic manner (Holy Trinity). 

** All seem to have drunk ale except the great merchants of 
Holy Trinity Guild, whose liquor was wine (Richards, 454). 
The alderman had four gallons, and the dean, clerk and skevyns, 
two gallons on the first day and half that allowance on subse- 
quent days. From these allowances, no doubt, however, the 
officials must have had to treat their friends or guests. 

t Each brother able to do so was to pay for a livery hood 

The Town Life. 153 

In the Merchants' Guild there was a janitor, with 
whom the servants of the brethren had to leave their 
caps and cloaks while they entered and spoke to 
their masters. When they had done their business 
they were to go, but might drink once or twice, 
standing, before they went. 

Having now referred to the feasting customs which 
formed so important a part of the regulations of the 
Lynn guilds, we may turn to the religious observ- 
ances, which are not so prominent a feature here as 
at Norwich. 

The usual ceremony seems to have been to go to 
church together the Sunday after the feast-day of the 
guild, and hear a mass ; in some cases meeting at a 
rendezvous ' fairly and honestly arrayed,' and walk- 
ing thence in procession to the place of worship. 

Only one image is specially mentioned in the certi- 
ficates as being sustained by a Lynn guild, and that 
is one of St. William, which the Young Scholars 
kept in a tabernacle, finding six tapers to burn be- 
fore the same each festival day. 

Nearly every guild, however, found six candles or 
lights ; St. Anthony's was a candle of a pound 
weight burning every festival day in time of service ; 
St. Thomas of Canterbury's, a two-pound candle be- 
fore its patron saint's image ; while a light of five 
candles, to burn in the church of St. Margaret, was 

and wear it at every mornspeche and burying (St. George 
Martyr, and Holy Cross) ; it was to be kept two years (Ship- 

154 ^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

sustained by the Guild of St. Lawrence ; St. George 
the Martyr Guild kept five candles burning before the 
altar of St. George on festival days, and three 
torches on the principal day at mass, etc., and also 
found a priest to serve at the altar of St. George. 

Provision for the sustenance of indigent members 
of the guild is made in nearly every case. The 
members of St. Anthony's Guild relieved their poor 
brother by each giving him a penny yearly. The 
Guilds of St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Leonard 
provided that if a member came to any misadventure 
* by sea, fire, or other manner,' all should meet and 
help him with a portion of their chattels. The 
Young Scholars relieved their poor four times a year. 
Some guilds ordained that each brother and sister 
should give a penny each mornspeche (St. John 
Baptist, St. Thomas of Canterbury, and St. Mary), 
The rule in another society was that each brother 
and sister should pay the poor man fourpence yearly, 
till he may help himself. If any brother or sister 
was in prison, he or she was to be visited and com- 
forted by the brethren (St. Leonard). Should the 
unlucky man's sufferings terminate in death, he, in 
common with all other members of the guild, had at 
least solemn obsequies and decent burial. 
Some of the special rules were as follow : 
Two torches were kept burning by the body 
during dirge and mass, until it was buried (St. 
Katharine). The aldermen were to tell the dean, and 
the latter to * hastily bring the wax ' to the dirge, and 
warn the brothers and sisters to go with the corse to 

The Town Life. 155 

the kirk, and there offer a halfpenny (St. Thomas of 
Canterbury), If the body were without, or in West 
Lynn or South Lynn, the brothers and sisters were 
to be summoned by the bellman.* They were to 
assemble in their livery hoods.-}- * If he die within a 
mile, and have nought to bring him to the earth,' the 
alderman and brethren shall go and bring him to the 
earth at their own costs (St. Leonard). If more than 
three miles, the alderman should go, or hire a man.:}: 

In any case the members are to attend the funeral, 
and a certain number of masses were sung for the 
dead man's soul ; the number varied from twelve to 
forty, and were to be sung within the third daj' of 
the death, under peril of their souls (St. Peter). 
Anyone not coming, if in health and in town, paid 
twopence (St. Peter). Their offerings were distri- 
buted among the poor in bread. 

Of course the guild-feasts at Lynn, though occa- 
sionally of great splendour, as we see from the 
picture of one engraved on the celebrated ' Peacock ' 
brass, still in the church there, could not vie with 
those of the great St. George's Guild of Norwich. At 
the table here noblemen and gentles of ancient de- 
scent sat down in good fellowship with the merchants 
and their wives, who were their brother and sister 
members. Here, no doubt, men of influence in all 
stations of life met on common ground and discussed 
measures likely to be of common benefit to the county, 

^ Shipman. 



156 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

and spoke, as their descendants do at this day, 
in mild and pitying disparagement of those unhappy 
ones who were born in the * shires.' 

We have plenty of materials with which it would 
be possible to write the history of the feasts them- 
selves — how the mayor had to give three bucks and 
a hogshead of wine towards it — how the great paste- 
board imitation dragon (afterwards called ' Snap ')* 
came and wallowed before the company for its 

The life of the Norwich citizens, however, was not 
all feasting, for the unsettled times must have kept 
them ever alert and suspicious, and, as it were, 
always in a state of mild siege. The way in which 
the houses of the better-class citizens were built 
shows this. A narrow entry, closed by a massive 
iron-studded door, often with a sliding peep-door, 
shut in a square yard like the * quad ' of a small 
college, round which ran a two-storied flint building, 
which could at a pinch, when well garrisoned, resist 
any assault to which it was likely to be subjected in 
a street brawl or town feud. 

Specimens of these houses may be seen in King 
Street and elsewhere in Norwich, but better still at 
Lynn. For protection against enemies from without, 
a wall was begun to be put round Norwich in 1294, 
but it was not finished till 1319. It was not, how- 
ever, till 1342 that the City was properly fortified, the 
work being done and the ditches enlarged by one 
Richard Spynk, a patriotic citizen, who also built the 

• Still to be seen frolicking about on rockthorpe ' Guild-day,' 

The Town Life. 157 

great round tower at the end of King Street, now 
known as the ' Snuff Tower.' About the same time 
the * Cow Tower/ otherwise the Boom Tower, so 
called from a boom being stretched from it across 
the river, to keep out hostile shipping, was erected. 
It was not till Rett's rebellion, in 1549, that the walls 
and gates ever came into practical use, and received 
their first and last baptism of fire, as already men- 
tioned in Chapter IV. 

\The entries on the Freemen's books of Norwich 
afford us much curious information as to the number i, '^ 
of different trades carried on by the citizens. Over \ 
250 separate trades occur there ; ]an amazing number, J 
and one only to be accounted for by the fact that in 
olden days, if a country manwanted an out-of-the-way 
article, he could not get it easily sent him from 
London, or any other centre, as he can now, so there 
were probably two or three men in each city who 
were \ * bladesmiths,' ■ * bridlesmiths/ ( mailmakers,^ 
f patymakers,') and 'pynners.'/ The way in which 
various trades were carried on with others is very 
curious ; e.g., of sixty-nine * bochers,' thirteen were 
cooks, and, it is obvious, sold cooked or uncooked 
food, as their customers wished. Again, of the forty- 
four bakers, six were brewers'and five ostlers. The'' 
forty-three smiths were re-divided into locksmiths, 
bladesmiths, and 'ferrors,' by which I apprehend 
shoeing-smiths were meant. The (' Brasyers ' in- ^ ^ 
eluded pewterers, plomers, and belyaters, or bell- .^ 
founders ; ' .while the scriveners were classed with 
notaries, text writers, 'lymynors,' and attorneys. 

158 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

The large number of < barkers^ shows how well 
wooded the country must have been, but the * raff- 
men ' were not, as Blomcfield thought, ' raftmen,' or 
navigators of floating timber, but a sub-species of 

^grocer — probably tallow-chandlers) The 'fresh- 
water men and fishers ' no doubt had plenty of occu- 
pation in the old days. 

So many of the manufactures of the city were of 

C textile fal>rics that the * merchants' marks,' which 
were used to stamp the bales of goods, were unusually 
numerous. They were very usually, also, placed in 
the spandrils of the doorways of the merchants' 
houses and on their brasses. Piers Plowman talks 

* Wyde wyndowes y-wrought 
Y-wryten ful thikke 
Shynen with shapen sheldes 
So shaven aboutc 
With tnerkes of inerchauntes 
Y-medeled betwene.' 

They served as the coat-of-arms of the merchant, 
though we sometimes find instances in which a 
gently-born tradesman — no great rarity then — put 
his mark on one side and his coat on the other of his 
doorway or tomb. 

As the noHi'caicx riches retired from trade they sank 
their merchants' marks, and acquired, rightly or 
wrongly, armorial bearings to which they had hitherto 
no right. For example, in 1671, it was reported to 
Clarencieux that * Both the Mr. Wiggots never knew 
any coate to belong to them ; nor doc not ownc any ; 

The Tow 71 Life. 159 

hut a marke which they wore on a ring.' Six years 
later we find Alderman Wiggot — no doubt the pro- 
genitor of the Lytton-Bulwer-Lyttons — being buried 
in St. Simon and St. Jude in all the glory of 
* Nebule a chief quartered on the ist and 4th, two 
roses on the 2nd, and 3rd a lion passant,' though at 
Guist we find the same family revelling in another 
totally different coat. 

Several of these marks were reallyTebuses on their 
bearers' names ; for example, Richard Spynk, the for- 
tifier, had, besides an instrument of war in remem- 
brance of the artillery he mounted on the walls, three 
birds — of course goldfinches or * spinks,' or possibly 
chaffinches, as the writer in N. A., iii., p. 183, thinks. 
One Caxton bore three cakes over a tun ; Richard 
de Belton, or Bolton, bore three bird-bolts ; John 
Aubry had the letters * ry ' on an alb ; and John 
Curat, a rat over what looks like a tree having a 
barbed arrow for its root. I think it would be 
possible, by a careful examination of these marks, to 
prove that certain combinations of straight lines, 
which occur in many of them, were meant to show 
the foreign buyer that the goods which were stamped 
with them were Norwich goods of a certain class, 
and that the sub-modifications showed the individual 

Besides the merchants and tradesmen, the nobility 
and gentry, and the more important abbots and 
priors, had houses or * inns ' in the city. The 
Berneys had their town-house on the upper side of 
King Street ; so did the Bardolfs, nearly opposite 

1 60 A Popiilar History of Norfolk. 

the Gurneys, who were on the other side, and whose 
gardens no doubt sloped to the river, as did those of the 
Stapletons and the Boleyns. Bigot's palace was on 
the corner by the Ethelbert Gate. The Abbot of St. 
Benet's had his inn in All Saints, and the Abbot of 
Sibton in Pottergate Street. 

The regular public inns were numerous, the two 
oldest and best known being the Royal, at Norwich, 
formerly the Angel, and the Maid's Head, once 
the Molde Fish. The latter change, however, was 
in very remote times, for it bore its present name in 
1472, when Margaret Paston directed that an ex- 
pected guest should set his horse at the ' Maydes 
Hedde.' This is, perhaps, from its associations, the 
most interesting inn at Norwich, being built on the 
site of the old Bishop's palace, and standing on early 
Gothic arches. The King's commanders in Kett's 
rebellion breakfasted here on the morning of the 
fight in the city. In 1643 it was a royalist resort, 
Dame Paston's horses being seized here. The first 
Freemasons' lodge in Norwich was held here in 
1724, and I can imagine the horror of the present 
staunch Conservative occupier when he reads that a 
Revolutionary dinner was held here in 1791.* 

The five most common signs are the Bell, the 
King's Head, Maid's Head, Half Moon, and White 
Horse ; next to them coming the Jolly Farmers, 
Plough, Rampant Horse, Feathers, Chequers, Duke's 

° By the way, was it here that Mrs. Bcatson hid herself be- 
hind the wainscot of a lodge-room, and heard all about it, as the 
old Norwichers will tell you? She died 1S12. 

The To7U}i Life. i6i 

Head, Horse Shoes, Angel, Dog and Partridge, and 
all sorts and colours of animals and birds. Of these 
the Chequers may come from the arms of Warren 
(Chequey or and az.), and the White Lion, and pos- 
sibly the Duke's Head, from the Howards, Dukes 
of Norfolk, whose Norwich house is remembered by 
the Duke's Palace, which stands on its site. 

Some are almost unique, e.g., the Triple Plea at 
Bedingham, the Hermitage at Acle, and the Cocka- 
trice at Norton Subcourse; while Wheels of Fortune, 
Black Boys, Woolpacks, Cardinal's Hats, Cherry 
Trees and Yew Trees are comparatively common. 
All along the coast we find salt-sounding signs, such 
as Ship Inns, Jolly Sailors, Fishmonger's Arms, and 
Mariners, while more rarely Shore-boats and Ferry- 
boats. Wells has its Dogger Inn, and Sherringham 
its Lobster, being celebrated for that shell-fish, while 
Lynn once boasted its Dough Fleet — whatever that 
meant — and still has its Black Joke {qy. Blackjack), 
the Rummer, the Wrestlers, Red Rover, Lattice, 
Valiant Sailor, Jolly Waterman, Greenland Fishery, 
Mermaid and Fountain, Hole in the Wall, and Live 
and let Live, while the Foul Anchor is particularly 
appropriate to the mariner guest who is overcome by 
its liquor, and is unp.ble to get away. 

Yarmouth has its Barking Smack, Humber Keel, 
Ballast Keel, Jolly Tar, Three Herrings, Fish Stall 
House, The Wrestlers, First and Last, Mariner's 
Compass, and Guardian Angel (!). At Norwich there 
are, of course, many interesting signs, such as the 
Bess of Bedlam, Wilduian, Norwich a Port, Old 


1 62 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Music House, Castle Steps, Church Style, Lame Dog, 
Boarded House, Keel and Wherry, Hatchet and 
Gate, Queen of Hungary, Heart's Ease, Cardinal's 
Cap, Ribs of Beef, and Buff Coat, many of which 
relate to bygone bits of local history too long to relate 

Several well-known inns, such as the Falgate, at 
Potter Heigham, scorn any sign proper, as does the 
Woodrow Inn. Of course the best known inn in the 
county was that at Scole, built by James Peck, a 
Norwich merchant, in 1655, the sign costing £"1,057, 
and being ornamented with twenty-five strange 
figures and devices, one of which was a movable one 
of an astronomer pointing to the quarter whence 
the rain was expected. There was also an enormous 
reproduction of the great 'bed of Ware,' which held 
thirty or forty people. The inn itself is a fine red- 
brick building with walls twenty-seven inches thick, 
and with a good oak staircase. 

Before leaving the inns we must remember that so 
many of the Norwich inns were once on the market- 
place that the street behind the Gentleman's Walk 
was, and is, called * The Back of the Inns.' By the 
way, in Norfolk, in referring to an inn, the natives do 
not say ' The Angel at North Walsham,' but ' Wals- 
ham Angel.' In Dr. Geddes's poem, * A Norfolk Tale,' 
1792, for example, he says : 

* At Barford-Cock I stop to break. 
My fast upon a mutton steak.' 

A curious inscription at Wymondham was, I sup- 
pose, once outside an inn : 

The Town Life. 


* Nee mihi glis servies, 
Nee hospes hirudo,' 

which has been translated thus — on the assumption 
that the last word was a contraction for hirundo : 

' My servant shall not be a dormour [lazy], 
Nor my guest a swallow [go away]. 

But I think that it should be, 

* My servant shall not be a dormouse [lazy], 
Nor my host a leech [exorbitant]. 

Another favourite old parlour inscription was, 

' All you that stand before the fire, 
To see you sit is my desire ; 
That others may, as well as you, 
See the fire and feel it too.' 




N the growth of the Norfolk monasteries 
themselves I have touched slightly in my 
third chapter, and will now try to show 
shortly from the carefully kept accounts 
of their expenditure what the inner life of their occu- 
pants must have been. 

The materials before me are some detached rolls 
of the great Abbey of St. Benet's, at Holme, cover- 
ing a period from about 1359 to 1503; the account- 
book of the Bursar of Hempton Priory for the year 
1 500-1 ; the account of the Keeper of the Cell to Nor- 
wich, which was at Yarmouth for 14S4-5 ; and the 
Cellarer's account of the little Abbey of Creak for 
1331-2. Other materials might be obtained, but these 
form a fairly representative series for nearly 200 
years of the busiest time of monasticism. 

They do not throw much light on the non-religious 
duties of the monks. No great copying school is 
referred to, though there probably was one at St. 
Bcnct's. I doubt if the monks or deacons in priest's 

The Monks and the Friars. 165 

orders were employed much in actual farm-labour, 
though the lay brethren may have been. The forge- 
work, such as shoeing, was no doubt contracted for in 
most cases, as it was at Creak, where the smith had 
forty shillings. 

The garden — about which some of us would rather 
hear than of anything else — is provokingly enough 
hardly touched upon, though no doubt it found em- 
ployment for some of the brothers. The Yarmouth 
cell only sold some saffron and saffron roots, but the 
Deanery at St. Benet's provided wine enough to sell 
for ^5 igs. 2d. in one year ; though to one who 
knows the wind-wasted site now, this seems hardly 

No details are given us of the medicines or drugs 
bought, though we find a trace of the universal rule 
which sought to mechanically reduce too carnal 
thoughts and desires by periodical bleedings, in 
special allowances for the comfort of those who were 

Nor is there much about the clothes. There are 
routine entries as to purchase of liturgical gloves, 
of altar-cloths and the like ; but the only interesting 
one is where on the Creak roll we find a trace of a 
large sum paid for * a cape for rainy weather, with the 
silk and the making,' which sounds very much like an 
oiled silk waterproof cape. 

The amusements were few and far between. 

On Rogation-days the image of a dragon,* to re- 
present the devil or heresy, ran about with a man 
* Here we have the Norwich * Snap ' again. 

i66 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

inside it, spitting out artificial fire, the terrible effect 
of which must have been sadly discounted by the 
fact that a boy ran by its side with a burning candle 
ready to re-light the fire if it went out. 

Every now and again there were feastings of a 
mild and unexciting character, arising from the 
spending of the pittances called * O,' so called from 
being begun on the i6th December, when the introit 
'O Sapiential' was used; but the real amusement — 
the glimpse of the busy outer world — was only 
obtained when a monk was sent out to collect rents, 
sometimes as far as Leicester and Northampton, or 
a novice, accompanied by an attendant, was sent to 
be ordained at Aylsham. The larger monasteries 
used to send their younger monks to Oxford and 
Cambridge, and the Benedictines were taxed at one- 
eightieth of their income to support their ' students ' 
at Oxford. The cook was, of course, often on his 
journeys after food, sometimes to buy or borrow 
salt-fish and meat when short at Lent, and some- 
times to Lynn or elsewhere to get more succulent 

The abbot's own life must have been to a very great 
extent that of a very busy professional man of the 
present day, having to go hither and thither in search 
of justice, and even to London 'about the writ 
called Ad quod damnum,' and having to continually 
supervise the financial affairs of his monastery. The 
life of Abbot Sampson of Bury, as chronicled by 
Jocelin de Brakeland, and re-vivified so startlingly 
by Carlyle in his ' Past and Present,' is the best 

The Monks and the Fi'iars. 167 

known example of the lay life which was mixed up 
with the religious. 

There is, however, one point in the internal economy 
of monasteries which has frequently escaped atten- 
tion, but which must have materially lightened an 
abbot's labours, viz., that of allocating certain pro- 
perties to support by their rents the expenses of 
certain branches of the abbey ; e.g., one manor would 
be allotted to the bursar, and another to the sacrist. 
Of course they accounted for any surplus, and had 
sometimes to be repaid or allowed for over-payments ; 
but the general idea was a good one, giving the 
abbot or prior an opportunity of learning the relative 
administrative ability of his subordinates. 

For the accommodation of the prior and the other 
officials, most of the more important monasteries 
had * inns ' at Norwich, and sometimes even in 
London ; as, for example, Bromholm, which in 1317 
bought a house in All Saints, Norwich, of its neigh- 
bour Ralph de Barton, and turned it into an * inn,' 
called the ' Holy Cross of Bromholm,' in which its 
members and others of their order were entertained. 

I have just spoken of the journies in search of 
justice. The rolls prove, if any proof is necessary, 
how thoroughly bribery had become a part of the 
judicial system; for there are endless instances of 
bribes, or ' presents,' sometimes in cash, sometimes 
in gloves, sometimes in boots. The King's mes- 
sengers had shilling rings given them, no very great 
presents, even considering the change in the value of 
money. Presents to women were generally knives, 

1 68 A Popular History of Norfolk 

the superstition against giving any cutting imple- 
ment apparently not then obtaining. 

We hear much of the large amounts given by the 
monks to the poor, and it is rather startling to find 
that in 1440 all given by the wealthy mitred abbey 
of St. Benet's ' in charitable donations at different 
times ' was 2s. 4d., and for * medicines for the sick ' 
3s. 4d. ! But I think it very probable that the 
monks had come to the same conclusion about out- 
of-door relief as modern poor-law guardians have 
done, and gave much away in kind, either to be con- 
sumed on or off the premises. 

Themselves they certainly did not stint, espe- 
cially about 1500. There was goose eaten at 
Michaelmas (a proof, if one were needed, of the 
absurdity of the Armada myth), and plum-pudding 
at Christmas, though * rese corans ' were at the 
starvation price of 2^d. per lb. 

In one case, that of Hempton, we have the bursar's 
weekly bills. In the first week they had beef, 
mutton, eggs, sucking-pig, oysters, and fresh fish ; 
and in the third, wild-fowl, veal, beef, mutton, fresh 
herrings, fresh-fish, salt-fish, oysters, eggs, and a 
paunch. In other weeks, rabbits, smelts, honey, 
lamb, * cockell ' (can this be our Norwich * coquail ?'), 
chicken, and mackerel : so the good canons were cer- 
tainly not starved. When Lent came round raisins 
and currants and oil were specially brought forward ; 
and to vary the ordinary salt-fish, shad, salmon, 
turbot, fresh ' pickerel,' and mussels were provided. 

Nor were the condiments forgotten, for we find 

TJic Monks and the Friars. 169 

purchases of ginger, orris root, cinnamon, saffron, 
cumin, and on one great occasion even a pound of 

Possibly the best idea one gets of the average con- 
tents of the larder of a small monastery is from the 
* stock-taking ' of the cell at Yarmouth in 1485, which 
was as follows : 

4 coombs I bushel of wheat. 11 barrels of beer. 
3 good fat wethers. In beef 8d. 

i8|- hngs. ii|- salt-fish. 

2 jars of honey. \ barrel of vinegar. 

\ runlet of malt vinegar. 7 ducks and a drake. 

5 hens and a cock. i capon. 

12 chickens. 150 wood fagots. 

450 fir fagots. 3,000 and more turfs. 

300 red herrings. 

Of course all through Norfolk the staple fuel was 
then either large turfs, sedges — i.e., great bundles of 
sedges, roots and all — or * flags.' 

So much as to the ' cakes and ale,' of which latter, 
by the way, there would seem to have been a fair if 
not a liberal supply, if we may judge from the * O ' 
feasts. Let us hope the want of them did not cause 
the death of the unhappy monk of St. Alban's, who, 
according to Matthew Paris, was first beaten and 
then sent by his abbot to Binham Abbey, which 
was one of its cells, where he was kept in fetters till 
he died, and was then buried in them. 

Taylor, in his * Index Monasticus,' says there was 
a monk's prison, contrived so that the prisoner could 
see mass, at the end of the south transept of Nor- 

I 70 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

wich Cathedral ; but I never found anyone who could 
show it to me. 

Nor do I remember anything like either of the 
curious ground-plans of monks' prisons, which he 
figures as occurring in any Norfolk monastic ruins. 
Certainly the rustics will tell you that the ' Cobbler's 
Hole,' leading out of the north rood-turret of Cromer 
Church, was where refractory monks were stowed 
away in a sort of ' little ease ;' but as the monks 
never had an abiding-place there, and the hole is 
clearly a service or choir book cupboard, this notion 
need not be seriously combated. 

Possibly the grand and well-arched sewers which 
ran from every monastic establishment, as well as 
from every castle (see p. 123, Chap. IX.) — and which 
are so frequently mistaken by rustics, whose ideas on 
sewage stretch no further than cesspools, for subter- 
ranean passages, through which the monks obtained 
access to the ruins — may also have given some sort 
of foundation for stories of mysterious prisons. 

One thing is certain, that for sanitary arrange- 
ments the monks were far ahead of the present 
generation in giving ample ventilation and plentiful 
water. The lavatory in the cloisters at Norwich, 
which ran with clear water, is a curious and easily 
accessible proof of this; as also is the way in which the 
* necessarium ' opened boldly on rivers, which then 
feared no pollution. 

When we come to the life of the friars, a very 
marked difference from that of the monks is 
discernible. Even allowing for the natural exaggora- 

The Monks and the Friars. 171 

tion and excitement of their early chroniclers, 
there is no doubt that the early Franciscans 
were earnest missionaries of the highest type, and 
came opportunely to fill up the gap caused by 
the growing sloth and worldliness of the monks, 
whose predecessors had been probably just as earnest 
as the friars. In time they too fell, and it should be 
remembered fell quicker, for much less than three 
centuries transformed the missionary priest who 
lived from hand to mouth, the real ' barefooted friar ' 
of the ballads, sometimes into a scheming greedy 
man of the world — half-politician and half-domestic 
chaplain — sometimes into a wearisome casuistical 
philosopher, and too rarely into a Roger Bacon. 

There can be little doubt that what first led them 
away from the paths of poverty was the fatal tempta- 
tion they had of half-dictating the wills of the poorer 
and middle classes. 

The monks, secure in their endowments and their 
comfortable homes, do not seem to have much 
meddled with the deathbed of any but very great 
lords, while very many of the parish clergy were 
non-residents or pluralists. When, therefore, the 
Friars came — who were never afraid of hard work, 
even when they were falling away — and actually 
hunted up the poor and the merchants, and forced 
some better religion on them than the dull routine 
to which they were accustomed, it is not strange 
that in the dire hour of death they should have been 
consulted by the dying man how he should best 
dispose of his goods for the benefit of his soul, or that. 

A Popular History of Norfolk, 

perhaps, an undue share should fall to the lot of he 

It has been the custom to make out that the 
parochial clergy and the friars always led a cat-and- 
dog life, but Mr. Hewlett, in his admirable intro- 
duction to vol. ii. of the ' Monumenta Franciscana,' 
has pointed out that frequently this was not so, for 
in many cases parochial clergymen left legacies to 
their so-called rivals. 

Common alike to the monks and friars was a 
reverence for the various shrines and holy wells of 
the county. A list of some of them, compiled by 
the Rev. R. Hart, in his paper in the ' Transactions 
of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society * 
(vol. vi., p. 277), will be useful. The remarks are my 

I. The, Image of Our Lady of WalsingJiam. 

This was, of course, the object of by far the 
greatest number of pilgrimages. Eight crowned 
heads we know came here specially — Henry VI H. 
among them, who walked the last two miles bare- 
foot — some few years before the Reformation, when 
the same image was burnt at Chelsea ! — only a few 
years before he, on his death-bed, in his agony com- 
mended his soul to the protection of that same Lady of 
Walsingham whose image he had destroyed. One 
king's banner, at least, was hung up before it in 
gratitude for a victory, and its shrine literally blazed 
with silver, gold, and jewels, brought as offerings to 
what was thought the Virgin's favourite English 

The Monks and the Fricws. 173 

home. There were reUcs, of course, such as the 
coagulated blood of the Virgin, and an unnaturally 
large joint of the Apostle Peter's forefinger, while 
another attraction was the * wishing well.' Evi- 
dences of miracles were ever at hand, such as a 
house not built by hands, which was placed by 
divine power over the wells ; and a wicket-gate, less 
than an ell square, through which a knight on 
horseback, pursued by his enemies, was safely 
conveyed by the Virgin Mary, to whom he called 
in his dire need. Erasmus's account of the whole 
juggle, the gross ignorance of the monks, and 
the avarice of the managers of the show, is too 
well-known to need repetition here. The Milky 
Way in the heavens is said to have got its name from 
its showing the way to where the Virgin's blood was 
exhibited ; and the road to the shrine, via New- 
market, Brandon, and Fakenham, was long known 
as the ' Walsingham Way,' or the Palmer's Way — 
as was also that to it from Norwich via Attlebridge. 
Taylor thinks that the pilgrims who came to Wal- 
singham from the north of England crossed the 
Wash near Long Sutton, and came through Lynn ; 
but I fancy it is more probable they took boat across 
to St. Edmund's Chapel, near Hunstanton, whence 
there is also a * Peddar's Road ' to Castle Acre Priory. 
Of course * peddar's ' road here could not mean 
pedlar's or packman's road, as has been surmised, 
for the trade between Castle Acre and Hunstanton 
must ever have been, as it is now, nil ; but must have 
meant a road similar to that used by pcddars — if, 

I 74 ^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

indeed, peddar does not simply mean a person who 
travels on ' pied,' whether his journey be religious or 
secular. There were, indeed, many ways to Walsing- 
ham, and it would be hard to answer the inquiry in 
the old (?) ballad, 

'Gentle herdsman, tell to me 
Of courtesy I thee pray, 
Unto the town of Walsinjjham 
Which is the right and ready way ?* 

2. The Holy Rood of Bromholm, 

When Baldwin, Emperor of Constantinople, was 
killed by infidels, his chaplain brought over many 
holy relics to England, and gave to Bromholm, which 
Matthew Paris says was then ' miserably poor and 
altogether destitute of buildings,' a great piece of the 
wood of the true Cross, which very greatly prospered 
the abbey by the fame of the miracles it wrought. 
If the rest of the story is no truer than that Brom- 
holm Abbey was then very poor and destitute of 
buildings in 1206, when Baldwin died, I don't believe 
much of it ; for the abbey was founded in 11 13, and 
the north transept, of work not later than the end of 
the twelfth century, still stands. 

Apropos of the * Holy Rood of Bromholm,' it is 
said in E. C. C, p. 225, that a convent of nuns in 
Yorkshire now have a large piece of the true Cross set 
in silver in the shape of a Jerusalem cross, which 
they think came from here, as one of their 
Superioresses was of the family of Paston, which 
was intimately connected with the ab'uey. 

The Monks and the Friars. 175 

3. St. John the Baptist's Head at Trimmingham. 

I must own to scepticism about this relic. The 
only time I can find it mentioned is in the will of 
Alice Cook (died 1478), who directs a pilgrimage to it. 
This Alice Cook seems to have had a penchant for 
pilgrimages, for she ordered nine to various local 
shrines, and several of them are known only by their 
mention in her will. It stands to reason that if the 
authorities had recognised so magnificent a relic as 
the Baptist's head, it would have been known and 
patronized so well that it would not have escaped ob- 
livion merely by an accidental mention in a fifteenth- 
century will. Possibly there was an image of St. 
John there. Though the head was not there, I can 
well believe the ' charger ' was. 

4. St. Walstan of Bawbergh. 

Hermit and confessor. This saint died in 1016, 
and at one time six chantry priests and a vicar con- 
tinually served at his shrine, which was a regularly 
constituted, respectable, and well-recognised one. 

5. Our Lady at Reepham. 

Of this I can get no particulars, and the same 
remark will apply to most of the following. 

6. Holy Spirit of Elsing (St. Spyrite). 

7. St. Parnell of Straiten (St. Petronilla). 

I know of no one of this name in modern history 
who answers to the description of saint. 

8. St. Leonard without Norwich, 

9. St. Wandred of Biskele. 
Wandragesilius of Bixley, 

1/6 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

10. St. Margaret of Horstead. 

11. Our Lady of Pity of Horstead. 

12. The Holy Rood at Crostwight. 

13. St. Albert (Ethelbert) of Cringleford. 

14. St. Thomas of Wcstacre. 

15. St. Tchhald (Theobald) of Hobbies (Hautbois). 

16. St. Blythe of Martham. 

St. Bleda, mother of St. Walsham, who was buried 
at I\Iartham. 

17. St. Margaret of Hoveton. 

She was killed in a wood here, called Little Wood, 
buried at St. Bennet's Abbey, and was said to be a 

To these I may add three more. 

18. St. William in the Wood. 

In the Cathedral of Norwich. The shrine of a 
little boy said to have been murdered by the Jews. 

ig. The Scala Cceli. 

In the Church of St. Michael at Conisford, 

20. St. Withhurga. 

At Dereham, though the Ely monks stole her body 
away so early that it can hardly be consiJured a 
Norfolk shrine in historic times. 

As to most of these — in fact all, except the first 
four and the last three — I think inquiry would show 
that they were local shrines which had great interest 
and puvver to those who lived in the villai^es in w hicli 

The Monks and tJic Friars. 177 

they were situate, and that when they are mentioned 
in wills it is by inhabitants of these villages who had 
moved away, but who had retained their early awe 
and reverence for the shrine they had known in child- 

Besides these regular — or irregular — shrines, pil- 
grimages were made to the graves of worthy but 
uncanonized bishops, and even to those of their 
fathers and mothers, and no doubt to many other 
places where relics were preserved ; e.g., part of the 
shirt of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, in St. 
Edmund's Church, Norwich ; part of St. Andrew's 
finger, at Westacre ; and the Virgin's blood in the 
chapel of St. Mary of Pity, in Norwich Cathedral. 

As well as all these, which one can easily under- 
stand could well be venerated by a devout Catholic, 
there were one or two more which I can hardly be- 
lieve were ever seriously visited.* I have ever, 
especially, had my doubts about 

The. Good Sword of Winfarthing, which is said, I 
think only by rabid post-reformation writers {e.g., 
Becon, in his * Reliques of Rome '), to have had 
ascribed to it the virtue of shortening a husband's life 
if a wife, who was weary of her mate, burnt a candle 
before it every Sunday for a year. Such offerings, in 
the worst and most corrupt times of the Romish 
religion, must have been impossible. Nor do I be- 
— lieve that 

* E.g. St. Godric of Walpole, who must have been the 
champion ascetic, for while hennit lie is said to have worn 
out three suits of iron clothes ! 


1 78 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

The Smock of St. Atidrie, in Thctford, which is 
another of Becon's stories, was ever really held out 
as a specific for toothaches and swellings of the 

Of the tendency of the people to try to canonize 
for themselves persons they thought worthy of it 
there are two curious instances in Norfolk, viz., 
'Master John Schorne ' * and 'Maid Ridibone.' 
The former was remarkable as the only layman 
who put the devil in a boot and kept him there — a 
feat pictured in several East Anglian rood-screens 
and windows ; and the latter for having been killed 
by falling through a mill-wheel and yet having 
no bones broken, and being restored to life by the 
intervention of St. Alban. There was ' Maid Ridi- 
bone's chapel ' in Cromer Church. 

To all the shrines and places described above, it 
has been said that * the stone wayside crosses, once 
so frequent in the county, served as finger-posts, and 
that the " Hospitals " were intended as resting- 
places for pilgrims travelling from one shrine to the 
other ;' but I think the guesses, though plausible 
enough, are hardly sustained by facts. 

Of the Leper Houses, which were once numerous, 
I do not think any remains now exist. One curious 
fact about them has, I think, hitherto escaped notice; 
namely, that those who acted as intermediaries be- 

® ' John Schorne — gentleman born, 
Conjured the devil into a boot ;' 
so says the old rhyme. Mr. C. Brent of Bromley, has a pilp^rim's 
leaden sign, with the devil's head just showing out of a booi. 

The Monks and the Friars. 

tween them and the people were called * foregoers,' 
and as such received legacies in Margaret Paston's 
will, in 1482. By the way, the same will refers to 
the 'Whole' and 'Half sisters of Norman's Hospital 
at Norwich. 



HAVE spoken before (p. 43) of the diffi- 
culty in accounting for the very large 
number of parishes and churches in Nor- 
folk, and the fact of their being so many 
must be my excuse for the length of this chapter. 
Of course the first thing that strikes us is the general 
poverty of the livings, and the number of cures which 
many clergy held simultaneously in early days — one 
may suppose in many cases almost necessarily, for a 
living could not have been obtained from one. But the 
scandal which arose from clergy who held benefices 
in Kent, Surrey, and other counties, so distant that it 
may be fairly assumed that they never even visited 
Norfolk, being allowed to hold small livings here 
must have been very great. One hopes that in many 
cases^ they were only presented to prevent the presen- 
tation lapsing, and that when indigenous priests could 
be obtained they were replaced. In many cases the 
very short interval between the presentation and 
resignation would seem to show that the stranger 

The Parsons and titcir Churches. i8i 

priest simply accepted the presentation because he 
did not like to refuse anything, journeyed down to 
see what the place was worth, thought it not good 
enough, and resigned at once. Take, for example, 
the case of Aylmerton, to a mediety of which, in less 
than five months (in 1339), there were iliree. presenta- 
tions, viz., Peter de St. John on 17th July, Walter 
de Huntingfield on 29th September, and John Key- 
mer on ist December. In 1396 there were two pre- 
sentations to the same, and in 1419 three in one 

With such poor emoluments* and much idle time 
on their hands, it would be strange if some of the 
clergy had not got into mischief; but I think few who 
have not worked at the records themselves have any 
idea how great was the apparent lawlessness of the 
clergy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries-f 
Premising that I am not falling into the error of sup- 
posing that all those criminals who were found to be 
' clericus ' and remitted to the Ordinary were or- 
dained priests, I will give a few examples out of 
many which I have come across. 

One Norfolk Crown Plea roll, that for 14 Edward \.,X 

* For the poor livings in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, 
there used to be considerable competition of late years. They 
used to be called ' run-and-ride livings,' from the haste with 
which they were sought. 

t M. 4, 2, No. 6. 

% It will be remembered that William of Newbrough, speak- 
ing of Henry II., says, ' Finally it was declared in his presence, 
that during his reign [of which nine years only had then passed], 
more than a hundred murders had been committed by the 
clergy in England alone.' ' Roll's Ed.,' i., p. 140. 

1 82 A Popidar History of Norfolk. 

discloses charges against (i) the Dean of Sparhani 
for accepting a bribe ; (2) the sub-Dean of Norwich 
and his chaplain for illegal rescue; and (3) the chaplain 
of Hunstanton for murdering another chaplain — of 
which crime he was found guilty. In another (17 
Edward II.), (i) two vicars are charged with murder 
and robbery ; (2) the parson of St. Botulph, Norwich, 
with illegal rescue of a thief; (3) a vicar with theft ; 
and (4) a parson with theft. In an earlier one (34 
Henry III.) the chaplain of Betale is charged with 
illegal wounding; and in another (52-53 Henry III.) 
there is a presentment that *a certain Constance, 
concubine of John the priest (sacerdos) of Gimming- 
ham, bore a child in the rector's house there,' upon 
which the bailiff seized her and her bed, and lodged 
them in the Hall till the priest paid a fine of 
40s. to release her. Of course it may be said that 
concubinage was practically connived at when the 
early right of the clergy to marry was discounten- 
anced. That this right was an undoubted one at 
law could, if necessary, be proved up to the hilt ; but 
one instance will suffice, for an official document 
dated 1237, distinctly refers to Elswyd, a woman 
having the right to present to the chapel of Panxford, 
marrying Ralph, the chaplain or curate of Stokesby, 
and having by him a son named Hermer, who after- 
wards was presented to the chapel — which, of course, 
could not have been done had he been then considered 
illegitimate. Again, we find Richard, son of Bishop 
William de Beaufoy, ordained and holding high 
office in Norwich cathedral. 

The Paj'sons and their Churches. 183 

To return to the bad parsons, however, we find in 
the 5th Edward III. that the chaplain of Guist was 
no better than a common church-breaker, for he broke 
into the churches of Balling, Sail, Weston, Bintre, 
Norton, and Belaugh and stole chalices, books, vest- 
ments, and other valuables, worth £\oo. He was found 
guilty, and handed over to the Ordinary, and was no 
doubt handled by him somewhat rougher than he 
would have been had he stolen from the laity. 

The same roll tells us how Simon atte Wode, 
parson of Rocklandtoft, broke by force and arms into 
the house of Oliver, parson of Roudham, and carried 
away goods to the value of 50s. Later on we read 
how the parson of Snoring, in 1461, fetched Thomas 
Denys, the coroner of Norfolk, out of his own house, 
and he was carried away and murdered. The parson 
was put into the stocks — a singular punishment for 
being accessory before the fact to a murder. Again 
we read in Riley's ' Memorials of London and London 
Life ' how, in 1416, Wm. Cratfield, late rector of the 
church of Wrotham, in Norfolk, was presented by a 
London jury of robbing a Londoner of 3^12, and was 
a common and notorious thief, and lurker on the 
roads, and murderer and slayer. From Fabian's 
Chronicle we learn that he long haunted Newmarket 
Heath, but was at last caught and brought with his 
concubine to Newgate, where he died. 

These instances are collected incidentally only, 
and I have little doubt might be multiplied to an 
immense extent. Small wonder, therefore, that the 
parsons generally were held in low esteem, as we 

1 84 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

learn from Roger Flint, who, when printing a sermon 
of the Rev. E. Boys, says : ' When a priest and a 
gentleman meet in one parson, the Church must 
needs suffer a great loss by his death.' 

It is pleasant to see that some of the clergy and 
officials were well up to their duty, and acted con- 
scientiously; e.g., William Pykenham, in 1479, declin- 
ing to be a party to Margaret Paston's son being 
irregularly presented to a family living, returning the 
mother's presents, and telling her that her desire was 

* not goodly neither godly.' So she had to ask a 
correspondent if he knew ' any young priest in 
London that setteth bills upon Paul's door,' who 
would be glad to have it — a curious way of advertis- 
ing for preferment or employment. 

In the time of the Commonwealth many hard 
things were, of course, said of the parsons, as when 
the rector of Carlton Rode was accused of being 

* an alehouse haunter.' So in 1635 was the rector of 
Santon, and also of * swearing, being distempered 
with liquor, keeping malignant company, and calling 
the Puritans hypocrites.' Of their rejoicings when 
the Restoration replaced them in their benefices I 
have spoken in my sixth chapter. Macaulay's de- 
scription of the country clergy is not, I think, the 
caricature which it is often called ; and many are the 
'good' stories which are told, to the discredit of the 
parsons of the time of Queen Anne, and of even later 

The natural depravity of the layman, delighted at 
catching his spiritual master tripping, has, I fear, 

The Parsons and their Churches. 185 

caused him to invent many of these. One laughs at 
the tale how the parson bet out of his pulpit on a 
dog-fight, which took place in his chancel ; how he 
bribed old women to stay away, so that he need not 
hold the service ; and how he fell drunk into a brook, 
and protested he would drink that up before he left, 
without considering the gross improbability of such 
stories being true. The last tale is now told — a lie 
of immense circumstance — of a clergyman lately 
dead, and the beck in Stratton Strawless Wood has 
been shown me as the scene of the anecdote ; but the 
whole thing will be found in the old Norfolk story- 
book of the reign of Elizabeth — the ' Anecdotes and 
Traditions ' of the Camden Society. 

* The good men do lie buried with their bones; 
The evil . . .' 

as we have seen, lives after them, and can be 
recorded ; but we can find very little indeed of the 
histories of the good parsons who wore away peace- 
ful lives in pursuit of duty. They were, no doubt, 

It has been presumed that they hated the friars, 
but I think this is only a guess. Certainly all of 
them did not, for, as mentioned before, we find them 
leaving occasional legacies to the friars. That they 
lived very studious lives I doubt, for books were too 
scarce and too dear for their purses. Of course 
there were exceptions, and sometimes we find clergy- 
men leaving books by their wills, as when Richard 
Wygelworth, parson of Waxtonesham, in 1370, left 

1 86 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

all his library, except ' Sermones parati ' and * Mani- 
pulus Curatorum,' to Hickling Priorj'. Robert Bar- 
well, parson of Thuxton, in 1531, must have had a 
fair library, for he mentions ' Itercalyn to Jheru- 
salem,' ' The Constitutions Provincial ' (two copies), 
'Josephus de Antiquitatibus,' * Postilla super Epis- 
tolas et de Evangclia,' ' Gemma Predicantium,' 
' The Fall of Princes,' ' Geoffrey de Historia Britan- 
niarum,' and 'The Cronycles of Ynglond,' besides an 
ordinal, which he left to St. Peter Mancroft, Nor- 
wich. Of course many of the city clergy, like the 
rector of the parish just named, had access to good, 
and in St. Peter's case to fine, libraries. 

I have treated elsewhere* on the library of St. 
Peter Mancroft, and there is an interesting account 
of the little rectorial library still preserved in the 
porch of Shipdham Church, which has many old 
books, including a Wynken de Worde, but no 
Caxtons as sometimes stated, to be found in 
vol. i., p. 184, of the * East Anglian.' 

Still, though their lives must have been humdrum 
enough in quiet times, when the pinch came, and 
the cruel test of martyrdom began, several of them 
did not shrink from it. Indeed, it was a Norfolk 
man, William Sautre, once priest of St. Margaret's 
in Lynn, who was actually the first of the noble band 
of martyrs for the Reformation, suffering at the stake 
at Smithficld in 1401. 

The first who died for his faith in Norfolk was 
William White, a priest of Ludham, who was burned 

* 'Norf. Antiq. Mi?c.,' vol. ii., p. 359. 

The Parsons and their Chzirches. 1S7 

in Norwich market-place in 1424. Bilney, too — 
' Bilney, little Bilney, that blessed martyr of God,' 
as Latimer calls him in his seventh sermon — was 
also a Norfolk man, and suffered in the Lollards' Pit, 
the other side of Bishop's Bridge. 

Bishop Aylmer had, it is said, a narrow escape 
from martyrdom, the tale going that in Queen Mary's 
time he had to be hidden away in a great wine butt, 
which had false partitions, so that while he was inside 
his pursuers actually drank wine from the bottom of 
it while he sat in the top. 

It is some relief, among all the religious murders, 
to find a Norfolk man humane at risk to himself 
— Sir Anthony Knevet, who was Heutenant of the 
Tower, disobeying Bonner, and refusing to rack Ann 
Askew. But Bonner himself, on the other hand, 
was, to the shame of our county be it said, a Nor- 
folk man, having been rector of Dereham, 1534- 
1540. Scandal said of him that he was the illegiti- 
mate son of one Savage, a priest ; but as illegitimacy 
was then, as now, a bar to taking orders, this would 
seem to have been a piece of spite. Still the story was 
told in his lifetime, and there is an entry in Dereham 
Register, of no recent date, to the same effect. He 
is reported to have been the cause of the deaths by 
burning of 200 persons for heresy. 

Those interested in the counter-persecution of the 
Jesuits will, of course, read Dr. Jessopp's very excel- 
lent book, ' One Generation of a Norfolk House,' and 
go and see for themselves the * Priest's hiding-hole,' 
in a turret of the east tower of Oxburgh Plall. It is 

1 88 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

a little nook 6x5x7 feet, and entered through a trap- 
door formed of a wooden frame enclosing bricks, and 
fixed on an iron axle. 

Of the milder persecutions of the clergy during 
the Commonwealth I have already spoken, and it 
was followed by the non-juring agitation on the other 
side of the question. Both, no doubt, caused much 
misery and undeserved suffering, as in the case of 
the Rev. John Gibbs, who was presented to Gissing 
by Charles II., and ejected as a non-juror in iCgo, 
of whom it is said he was * an odd but harmless 
man, both in life and conversation ; after his ejection 
he dwelt in the north porch chamber, and laid on 
the stairs that led up to the rood loft, between the 
church and the chancel, having a window at his 
head, so that he could lie in his narrow couch and 
see the altar.' 

The friction which must have necessarily taken 
place between the regular clergy and the Puritan 
and dissenting interest must have always been con- 
siderable, and is often amusingly shown by the evi- 
dence that has come down to us. The Norwich 
townsfolk, who affected the Commonwealth side, and 
especially the apprentices, seem to have set their 
faces against the cathedral services, and even to 
have threatened to pull down the organs. 

A very amusing and scarce tract in my possession, 
called 'True Newes from Norwich,' purports to be 
' a certain relation how the Cathedral Blades . . . 
did put themselves into a posture of defence, be- 
cause that the apprentices of Norwich (as they 

The Parsons a7td their Churches. 189 

iuiagined) would have pulled down their Organs.' It 
is written in the usual exaggerated and abusive style 
then so current, and after admitting that there was 
a rumour that the 'prentices were about to pull down 
the altar rails and organs, and admitting that the 
rails were taken down by the Dean and Chapter, 
asserts that the threat that the 'prentices * would have 
a bout with the organs on Shrove Tuesday ' was 
only a joke ' to skare the fooles.' It goes on to say 
that 500 parsons and priests were ready to resist the 
attack, and that the gates of the cathedral were shut 
for two days ; and after detailing certain preparations, 
sets out that, * In the fourth place there were the 
musquetiers ready charged with bullets, and one of 
them had in his musket a bullet split in parts for to 
shoot the apprentises when they come (say they). 
Thus they stood all day long shooting and threaten- 
ing the Rebels that dare come to pull down their 
organs, when as the apprentises had no intent to 
come, but were at home about their masters' oc- 
casions, and did not intend to foule their fingers 
about such a company of rake shames : and there 
they stood like so many Abraham Ninnies, doing 
nothing but tell how many crows flew over the 
pinacle.' The writer goes on to accuse some of the 
defenders of being * so intoxicated with strong Ale, 
that was to be sould at the great Cathedrall, that 
they could not tell what they said or did. Thus, 
good Reader, thou maist see the folly of these Pipe- 
mongers,' etc. 

Of course, tLe Puritans did not have all the ridi- 

1 90 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

cule on their side ; and one can judge how the 
Cavalier Sir Nicholas L'Estrangc, elder brother of 
the pamphleteer, laughed when he jotted down in his 
note-book the story about the Puritan chaplain 
objecting to the running bowl being abjured to go 
on as told in the last chapter ; and when he tells 
how when a Puritan minister, who had preached a 
very long sermon, asked a gentleman how he liked 
it, was told that it was very good, but that it had 
spoiled a goose worth two of it 1 

Of the Dissenters it would hardly be within the 
scope of this little book to treat, but I may point 
out that they met with as great obstruction from the 
Protestant Churchmen as the latter had met with 
from the Catholics. A ' Hell Fire ' club was started 
in Norwich, avowedly with the intention of crushing 
the Methodists, and, strangely enough, it was held at 
the Bell, at Orford Hill, now, certainly, frequented by 
a very different class of customers ; a metamorphosis 
as strange as that which has turned the Maid's Head 
from a revolutionary house to the steadiest and most 
respectable High Church and State hostelry possible. 

All this, however, is wandering rather widely from 
my subject, so I will here break off to say something 
of the churches themselves, in which the parsons, as 
to whom I have spoken in the first part of this 
chapter, exercised their functions for good or evil. 

The first things that strike the stranger-archaeo- 
logist when he comes into Norfolk are the enor- 
mous number of the churches, the fine work that 
has been put into many of them, and the almost 

The Parsons and their Churches. 191 

universal use of dressed flint as the material with 
which they are built. Flint churches and round 
towers are as common here as they are rare else- 
where ; but the reasons for them are not far to seek, 
for flint is the easiest material to get, and it is easier 
to build flint into a round tower than into a square 
one. The great majority of Norfolk churches have 
(or had before the curse of restoration came on us) 
a lofty circular tower, often embattled, a long light 
clerestory, and handsome porches. 

Of course we have churches of all sorts and sizes, 
from the great church at Yarmouth — the largest parish 
church and the widest ecclesiastical building in Eng- 
land, with its floor area of 23,085 square feet, its length 
of 230 feet, and breadth of 108 feet — to the little 
gem of a chapel on the Red Mount at Lynn, which 
makes up for its small size (floor area less than 180 
square feet, being only 15 feet by 11 feet 10 inches) 
by the most exquisite workmanship. 

There are so many magnificent churches in the 
county, that it is a work of the greatest difficulty to 
pick out any for special mention without drawing on 
one the wrath of those who have made particular 
buildings their special study ; but whatever may be 
the sins of omission in the following list, I am very 
confident that I have not included in it a single 
building not very well worthy of careful inspection by 
any ecclesiologist. 

AtTLEBURGH ) rr- j , j i 

Aylsham JFme decorated work. 

192 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Barton St. Mary. — Very singular Norman west 

Beeston St. Lawrence. — Saxon work. 

BuRLiNGHAM, NoRTH. — Early English south porch. 

BuRLiNGHAM, SouTii. — Considered by Cotman a 
most interesting church for its stone pulpit 
with sounding-board, hour-glass and frame, 
stone reading-desk, and wooden rood-screen, 
besides a fine Norman doorway. Since Cot- 
man wrote two frescoes have been discovered. 

BuRNHAM OvERY. — Fine three-light lancet east 

Castle Rising. — Norman west front ; Saxon arches 
to tower ; very fine Early English west win- 

Cley. — Fine church, lately well restored ; brass of 
a shrouded figure. 

Creak, North. — Decorated tomb ; Perpendicular 

Cromer. — Very large Perpendicular church ; fine 
Hint and stone panelling and carving on but- 
tresses ; galilee. 

Dunham Magna. — Tower ; said by Rickman to be 

Elmham. — Saxon work. 

Emneth. — Three-light lancet east window. 

Fakenham. — Very fine church, well restored ; lofty 
tower, with good Hint and stone panelling ; 
coats of arms, etc. 

Gillingham, — Much Norman work, especially in 
tower, with fine circular windows. Circular 
cast end. 

The Parsons and their ChtircJies. 193 

Haddiscoe. — Circular flint tower, battered consider- 
ably; fine Norman south doorway, sunnounted 
by image in niche. 

Hales. — Extremely enriched north doorway. 

HiNGHAM. — Decorated ; fine tower ; splendid mural 

Howe. — Saxon, as to some parts. 

Hunstanton. — Early Decorated ; Norman font ; 
fine canopied brass, and good monuments. 

Ingham. — Late Decorated ; fine monument, dated 

LoPHAM, South. — Early Norman tower of six 
storeys, of which the four higher are orna- 
mented with arches. 

Lynn. — St. Margaret. Transitional Norman; Early 
English and Decorated tower ; the two largest 
and finest brasses in England. 
St. Nicholas. Great west window of eleven 
lights ; very fine and elaborately ornamented 
entrance to porch. 

Martham. — Fine Perpendicular church, with good 
tower and fine south door. 

Newton. — Saxon work. 

Norwich. — St. Julian. Saxon work. 

St. Michael Coslany. Possibly the finest inlaid 
flint and stone work in England, much re- 
cently spoiled by 'restoration.' 

St. Peter Mancroft. Very large and beautiful 
Perpendicular church, with fine and richly 
ornamented tower, 

Sall. — Very large, with aisles and clerestory, tran- 
sept, chancel, and two porches. 

Snettisham. — Beautiful Decorated west window; 
fine galilee. 


194 ^ Popular History oj Norfolk. 

Snoring Parva. — One of the most singular south 
doors in existence, the head being a round 
arch, within which is a pointed arch with a 
bold zigzag. 

SwAFFiiAM. — Very large (partly Decorated) ; cruci- 
form ; chancel ; nave ; aisles and transept ; 
and fine tower. For boldness, light, size, and 
good situation, one of the most striking 
churches in the county. 

Tasburgh. — Thought by some to be Roman, from 
its resemblance to the church at Brixworth, 
in Northamptonshire. 

Terrington St. Clement's. — Cruciform ; Perpen- 
dicular ; very large and handsome ; lofty and 
wide ; long clerestory of thirteen windows. 

Toft. — Octagonal tower and lanthorn. 

Walpole St. Peter. — One of the finest churches in 
England ; Decorated tower ; rest, including 
magnificent porch, font with cover, and grand 
chancel, Perpendicular. Rickman says of it, 
he ' never found a more satisfactory Perpen- 
dicular church.' 

Walsingham, Old. — Fine Decorated, geometrical 

Walsoken. — Magnificent square tower, greatly en- 
riched ; splendid interior of Late Norman 

Walton, North. — Early English church, with ex- 
tremely beautiful details. 

WoRSTEAD. — North doorway ; sound-holes; screen; 
inscription as to plough light. 

Students of special branches of ecclcsiology should 
notice these : 

Doorways. — Shingham, Chedgrave, Heckingham, 
Mintlyn, Mundham, Hales, Wroxham, and 
Th\va_) t. 

The Parsons and their Churches. 195 

Doors. — Harpley, Cromer. 

Porches. — Great Massingham, Worstead, Cromer, 
and Snettisham. 

Easter Sepulchre. — North Wold. This is the largest 
in England. 

Fonts. — Fincham, Belaugh, Kirby Cave, Wal- 
soken, Burnham Deepdale, Shouldham 
Thorpe, Walsingham, Calthorpe, Hunstanton, 
Hautbois, and Yaxham. Of these, Yaxham is 
very unusual, being in ' high florid Gothic,' 
while Hautbois is Early Norman with inter- 
laced ' Runic ' work, and Burnham is Early 
Norman, if not Saxon. There is a leaden lent 
at Great Plumstead — probably Late Norman 
— one of the very few in England, and there is 
a very fine font-cover at Trench. 

Roof. — Knapton. 

Rood-screens. — Ranworth, Barton Turf, Scarning, 
Salhouse, Sherringham, Acle, North BuiJing- 
ham, Cawston, Edingthorpe, North Elmham, 
Gately, East Harling, Irstead, Lessingham, 
Happisburgh, Sparham, Stalham, Trunch and 
Worstead. Of these the two first are magni- 
ficent, while of the others Salhouse and 
Scarning have their saunce bells still in situ, 
and Sherringham its rood-loft and staircase 
perfect — a feature I have never seen else- 

Mural Paintings. — Unluckily most of these have, 
when uncovered, faded away so rapidly that, 
but for sketches taken at once, we should 
have no memento of them. 
At Wyndham was one of fiends ; some tan- 
talizing souls in purgatory by offering them 
cans of water, while others prepared a 
crop of damned souls by tempting men with 

13— 2 

196 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Monuments. — Hinj^ham. A maj^nificent one to 
Thomas, Lord Morley, dated 1435, probably 
the largest and finest mural monument in 
England, and supposed to be built by the 
architect of the Erpingham gate ; for style it 
is between Decorated and Perpendicular, and 
is most richly ornamented. At North Creak 
there is a very fine Decorated monument, and 
a very bold and rich founder's tomb at Raven- 
ingham. The tomb of Oliver de Ingham, in 
Ingham, and of Sir Roger L'Estrange, in 
Hunstanton, arc both very fine types. Of 
late mural tombs, Paston's at North Walsham 
is a good example. 

Brasses. — Of these we probably have the largest and 
finest show in England. Certainly the two 
grand brasses in St. Margaret's, Lynn, are un- 
touched for size or beauty of execution — that 
of the Peacock Feast measuring 8 feet by 5 
feet 5 inches. Little less interesting are the 
brasses of Sir Simon de Felbrigg in Felbrigg 
Church, of Richard Calthorp and his nineteen 
children in Antingham Mary, and of Arch- 
deacon Tenison in Bawburgh, Sir Hugh 
Hastings at Elsing, Sir John Harsick in 
South Acre, Margaret Castell at Raveningham, 
Thomas Heveningham in Ketteringham. 
There is a skeleton brass to John Brigg at 
Sail, a shrouded brass to John and Roger 
Yelverton at Rougham, and a very curious 
one to Thomas Hall at Heigham, representing 
a coxcomb of 1630 in wrinkled boots and a 
fashionable wig. 

Stalls and Piscina:. — There is a set of three very fine 
stalls under a window at Acle, also decorated 
stalls and piscina at Aylmerton ; and other 
good examples are to be met with at Faken- 
ham, Norton Subcoursc, Snoring, Burnham 
Thorpe, and elsewhere. 

The Parsons and their Chirches. 197 

Of curious and novel features, I may note that 
there is a sexton's wheel at Long Stratton, and some- 
thing which I think served the same purpose on the 
floor of Barningham. The poor's box at Cawston is 
very curious, as is the acoustic pottery at St. Peter 
Mancroft and St. Peter per Mountergate, Norwich, 
and at East HarHng, A very fine church chest is at 
Dersingham, and the sculpture over the west door of 
Rougham — Christ crucified, surrounded by a border 
of vine-leaves — is very beautiful. The magnificent 
bosses on the roof and in the cloisters of Norwich 
Cathedral are too well known to need reference. 
Many of the gurgoyles in our Norwich churches, as 
at Cromer, are very quaint. Several of the churches 
along the east and north coast seem to have been 
built with the view of ranging with one another, so 
that in case of need they could * pass on a beacon- 
light ' from one tower to another. Certainly, on the 
north-east of Blakeney and the north-west of Cromer 
towers, there are platforms or turrets, which are 
reputed to have served as places on which beacon- 
fires were lit. 

Possibly, however, they served as lighthouses, and 
it is curious to note that John Puttock, hermit of 
Lynn in 1349, erected a great cross no feet high, 
which was * of great service for all shipping coming 
that way.' 

When my reader has seen all or many of the 
notable churches mentioned in the above list, he may 
probably have arrived at an opinion of his own about 
the solution of the difficulty I spoke about when be- 

iqS a Popular History of Norfolk. 

ginning this chapter, viz., the great number of 
Norfolk churches and parishes. I own to having 
none, beyond a sort of guess that there was more of 
emulation than piety in the motive that caused many 
a squire to build or re-edify his church. Take for 
example the case of a mother who wrote to a son in 
1478, that her cousin Clcre had spent /"lOO on the 
* desks' in the choir at Dromholm Abbe}^ and at 
Heydon the same; 'and if there should be nothing 
done for 5-our father [he was buried there] it would 
be too great a shame for us all, and in chief to see 
him lie as he does.' 

But I doubt if anyone will find a satisfactory 
reason for the magnificence of the seven marshland 
churches of Walsoken, West Walton, the two 
Walpolcs, Terrington, Tilney, and Upwell. 

None of these places were ever important com- 
mercial places, nor can we find out that the builders 
were men of any vast property or importance in the 
county ; and yet we find glorious churches, many of 
freestone, of a size and splendour of finish that 
would make any one of them noticeable in any 
county. One can understand places like Cley, 
Blakeney, and Cromer, which, though now insignifi- 
cant fishing villages, were once important ports ; or 
villages like Worstcad and North Walsham, which 
were once large commercial centres, having large and 
beautiful churches ; but it is hard to say why places 
which can hardly ever have been more than grazing 
centres sLould boast buildings much their superior. 

The wonder is, however, that there is anything 

The Pai'sons and their Churches. 199 

left of our churches, when one considers the woful 
ordeal of neglect they went through in the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries, and the more 
terrible one of restoration under which they are now 
suffering. The lead was so frequently torn off the 
roofs to find money to patch up the building, 
and the fine old bells sold for similar purposes, that 
the story goes that when, on one occasion, Bishop 
Wren received an application for a faculty to substi- 
tute a lead for a thatch roof, he treated it as a bad 
and unseemly joke, and threw the paper away, and 
could hardly afterwards be persuaded that the church- 
wardens were in earnest. 

The worst case was, to my mind — though perhaps 
I speak under a sense of wrong, as the explosion 
covered up some of my family burial-places — when 
the 'Reverend' N. Gill, the lessee of the great tithes 
of Cromer, was allowed in 1681 to destroy the 
beautiful chancel of the Church there, on the ground 
that the nave was large enough, and actually blew it 
up with gunpowder ! 

Nowadays, the pendulum of destruction is swing- 
ing the other way. Interesting late Perpendicular 
work, Jacobean pulpits and panelling, and monu- 
ments of families who have left the parish, are swept 
away by the ' restorer,' whose idea usually seems to 
be to construct a new-looking church (Decorated for 
choice) with a hammer-beam pine roof, cheap pine 
open seats, gaudy pattern encaustic tiles, and 
never a monument on wall or floor. The type 
is common and most uninteresting. While there is 

200 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

anything left of old work, therefore, it behoves all 
true ecclesiologists to make as many sketches and 
church notes as possible — or, better still, to employ 
the new and easily managed dry-plate process of 
photography — and all genealogists to copy all the 
inscriptions. One little crow I may make for my- 
self. I have copied and printed every iuscriptieii 
in North Erpingham Hundred (2,509 in number), 
and have finished and am printing Tunstead and 
Happing, while a friend has completed and printed 
Holt. It would be a very little thing for the local 
clergy, as some slight amends for the ill their 
restoring zeal has done, to copy the inscriptions 
and send them up to Norwich to the Secretary of 
the National Society for the Preservation of Me- 
morials of the Dead, where they could be preserved 
and indexed. 

It will hardly, however, be believed that a 
member of the committee of the local Archaeological 
Society actually refused permission to the officials 
of the Memorial Society to copy the monuments in 
iiis church ! 

I cannot, I think, close this chapter better, than 
by giving a few samples of some of the more inter- 
esting Norfolk inscriptions I have come across. 

A Norman - French one to a former rector of 

Thursford, who died 1393, ran thus: 

* De tcrre je suis faire et forni^, 
Et h. la terrc je suis retornd, 
EUertunc nome appeld, 
Farsoiij de Thursford esto'.s. 
Jesus avc de moy pitd' 

The Parsons and their Chtwches. 201 

Of course, everyone is familiar with the modern 
version of this; but an intermediate one, dated 1607, 
from Toft Monks, may be new to my readers : 

* As I was — so be ye, 
As I am — ye shall be ; 
That I gave— that I lost, 
That I spent— that I had ; 
Thus I end all my cost. 
That I left— that I lost.' 

One to John Bowf, I forget in what church, 

runs : 

' We shall all hence, 
Whither or when 
No man shall know, 

But God above. 
We care for other things, 
Hence we shall fare. 
All cold and bare : 
Thus says John Bowf.' 

Laconic, and to the point, is this from Sustead : 

' Simon Taylor of Metton this stone did make, 
Pray for his soul for Jesus' sake.' 

At Colney is a cynical one, dated 1481: 

' When the bell is solemnly rung, 
And the mass with devotion sung, 
And the meat merrily eat, 
Soon shall Sir Thomas Bettys be forgot, 
On whose soul God have mercy.' 

From Beeston I got this — note our dialect in the 
last word : 

* Thomas Symson, priest, departed, and lieth under this stone, 
The month of January, alive, and also gone. 
Not for an ornament of the body this stone was laid here, 
But only the soul to be prayed for as charity require.' 

202 A Poptdar History of Norfolk. 

An inscription at Foulsham to a lad is curious: 

' Here I lie John, which livdd but eight years, 
When death me chppdd with his sharp shears ; 
Remcmljcr me, I pray you, often as ye list, 
And I shall not forget j/^?/^ to Master Jesus Christ.' 

A very \on^ and elaborate one at Barton is curious 

for its numerous changes of metre. As in the others, 

I have modernized the spelling: 

* Here are buried under this stone, in the clay, 
Thomas Amys and his wife Marger-ay ; 
Sometime we were as ye now be, 
And as we be, after this shall ye. 
Of such goods as God had the said Thomas lent, 
[He] did make this Chapel of St. Thomas with good intent ; 

Wherefore they desire of your Charity, 

To pray for them to the Holy Trinity. 
I beseech .all people far and near, 

To pray for me, Thomas Amys, heartily ; 
Who gave a mass-book and made this chapel here, 

And a suit of blue damask also gave I, 
Of God the m.ccccxl and v year, 

I the said Thomas deceased verily, 
And the fourth day of August was buried here, 
On whose soul God have mercy.' 

We get a quasi-comic vein at Wichingham, on 
Thomas Allyn and his two wives, dated 1650: 
* Death here advantage hath of life I spy, 
One husband with two wives at once may lie.' 

At Edingthorpe, the writer of an inscription to 

one Oliver Rice, who died 1721, bursts out into 

politics, anent his relative's Christian name: 

' Could'st (for thy Land) 
Thou hand to hand 
But Rebel Noll have fought \ 
Dear had been then, 
To Enj^lishmen, 
That name now come to nought.' 

The Parsons and their Chttrches. 20 • 

Of sea-captains' inscriptions this is a favourite 
type. It comes from Swafield. There are others at 
Wells and Happisburgh : 

* Tho' Boreas' blasts and Neptune's waves 

Have tost me to and fro, 
By God's decree you plainly see 

I harbour here below, 
Where I do now at anchor lie. 

With many of our fleet ; 
Yet once again I must set sail 

Our Admiral Christ to meet. 

From Cromer I got a quaint one, dated 1755 : 

' Farewell, vain world ! 

I've seen enough of thee ; 
And careless I am what you 

Can say or do to me ; 
I fear no threats from 

An Infernal Crew, — 
My day is past, and I bid 

The world adieu.' 

For an example of local pronunciation fossilized, 
this is curious. It comes from Thurgarton ; date, 


* He was a father to the fatherless, 

He helped the widows in their distress ; 
He never was given to worldly pride ; 
He lived an honest man, and so he died. 
They were tender parents, our loss was great, 
We hope they both eternal joys will meet.' 

I have often tried to trace the germ of * afflictions 
sore,* but this is as far as I have got. It comes from 
Suffield, and is dated 1758 : 

* Afflictions sore — long time we bore, 

All means did prove in vain ; 
Till Death did please — us to release, 
And ease us of our pain.' 

204 -^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

I hope no one who goes on collecting Norfolk in- 
scriptions will ever fall into such an amusing blunder 
as did the author of the * Norfolk Tour,' who under 
Neatishead says, 'Here are inscriptions to the 
memory of Cubet and Marmore,' and justifies his 
statement by an inscription beginning: 

' VViU'us jacet hie Emmyson, tnarmore teste V 



REMISING that the limit of space at my 
command will only allow me to give some 
very short notes on some of our chief 
places, I may as well at once plunge in 
medias res, and begin with our county-town of Nor- 
wich. Visitors from London by rail when they near 
the city, after crossing the river, can see only, on their 
left, the high ridge of ground on which Ber Street 
stands, with its old red-brick houses, and it must 
be owned the entrance is neither imposing nor 

If I were bringing in a visitor on whom I wanted 
Norwich to form a favourable first impression, I 
should arrange that he should come in — as Queen 
Elizabeth did in her progress — by St. Stephen's 
Gate, when he would see the old city lying below 
him, with its grey square castle-keep, and its 
glorious cathedral spire rising out of the hollow 
below ; but as those for whom this book is written 
will probably enter by Thorpe Station, I must needs 

2o6 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

admit at once that they will find this station as 
dirty, small, and incommodious as any they are 
likely to find in any other town of the same size.* 
Nor will they be much better pleased with the first 
sight of the place. The station-yard is dirty, the 
' Foundry Bridge ' is narrow and at right angles to 
exit, and the long * Prince of Wales Road ' which 
leads from the railway to the old part of the city 
is, though wide, singularly devoid of architectural 
beauty, most of the houses in it being of the well- 
known jerry-builder's type. It is however, like nearly 
all the city, well paved with wood, Norwich being the 
first and I fancy the only county-town which has 
boldly adopted this material, the result being that for 
driving and walking it is uniquely pleasant. What 
made the citizens, after enduring for centuries the vilest 
possible paving — great round ancle-dislocating pebbles 
— generally without side-walks (my mother, who was 
brought here for her honeymoon, was laid up for a 
month from being shown the sights in thin shoes), 
suddenly rush into the other e.xtreme, I cannot say. 
There is a mystery about the whole affair, especially 
in the strange coincidence that the paving stops 
abruptly when it has reached the doors of influential 
dignitaries whose houses lie in the suburbs. 

However, to return to the road we arc on, which, 
by the way, cuts across the site of the low-lying 
gardens of the Friars Minor, we may note that by 
a passage to the right we can work round into the 

* Since these lines were written a magniriccnt new station has 
been bc;;un. 

The Towns. 207 

cathedral precincts. When we get to its end the 
stranger will wonder at the public spirit that has 
given the city so magnificent a post-office as that 
which we see on the left, till he is told that the post- 
master has — cuckoo-like — only established himself 
in the costly premises built for the ill-fated Harvey's 

Stretching in front of us is the wide open slope 
covered with cattle-pens, known as the Castle Hill ; 
to our left the railway-station-like roof of the new 
Hall ; to our right is the hideous mock-Gothic Shire 
Hall ; and above it, as though frowning down in dis- 
gust at the two horrors below, stands the light grey 
square castle tower. All visitors naturally go up 
the Castle Mount to spy about the city from its coign 
of vantage before wandering along the streets ; and 
my reader had better do the same. He will cross a 
round arch, said to be Saxon, thrown over a dry 
moat, now used as a garden — and a very pretty 
garden too, with its wealth of greenery — and walk 
round the top of the mound. 

The whole of the keep has been of late years re- 
cased with stone, hardly as white as that which in 
Norman times is said to have given it the nickname 
of Blanchflower ; but the Norman work — the arcad- 
ing of stone, the narrow arrow-slits, and such like — 
has been more or less faithfully reproduced. 

Of course only the great square tower — Bigod's 
tower, as it is called — is old, the one-story abomina- 
tion to the right being modern. There is little to 
see inside, so it is hardly worth while to take the 

2o8 A Popii/ar History of N'orfolk. 

trouble to get a magistrate's order to view the hollow 
shell, and the very few articles of interest, which are 
chiefly a few wall inscriptions cut by prisoners, some- 
thing like those in the Tower of London, though much 
older. One poor Bartholomew describes how he is 
confined * saunz resun,' and I dare say he was 
neither the first nor the last who could have said so. 
It is curious that, in the reign of Elizabeth, kinsmen 
and namesakes of such men as Cecil and Throg- 
morton should have been in duress here. It is a 
prison still, but clean and orderly ; not as it was in 
1629, when thirty-two prisoners were packed together 
so closely that they had no room to lie down together 
for six weeks. However, the inside is soon seen, and 
the visitor should, when he gets out, walk round the 
top of the mound till he passes the hideous roofs of the 
Sessions House which lies below, and looks down on 
the tops of the houses in the Prince of Wales Road. 
To the left, the foreground being hidden by the trees 
planted on the side of the mound, which rise up level 
with one's eyes, is the great grey cathedral, with its 
beautiful spire shooting up, even from its low marshy 
site, far higher than where we are standing. Behind it, 
and now, luckily, ever to be its unbuilt-on background, 
are the green and brown patches of Mousehold 
Heath, where the rebels camped in Rett's time. 
Right and left, as far as eye can see, are the red- 
tiled houses, contrasting picturesquely with the 
green tree-tops, which occur so frequently between 
them, and even now give some reason for Norwich's 
old name — the ' City of Orchards.' You can hardly 

The Towns. 209 

count the flint and stone square-towered churches, 
for they are almost as numerous as the hideous red- 
brick chimney shafts. 

Still walking on to the left, we notice how the 
houses below follow the shape of the mound we are 
on, and are really built on the bank of one of its 
outer ditches, for you can see the deep drop of the 
earth, now mostly bricked in, and used as gigantic 
areas. Still farther, and we look up to the fine 
tower of St. Giles's Church, built on the highest 
ground in the city ; and, if we wait long enough, we 
shall see the new cathedral of the old faith gradually 
rising hard by it on the finest site in this city, and, 
perhaps, in any other. If I were the Duke of Nor- 
folk — duke, by the way, of a county in which I don't 
think he has a house to live in, though he is building 
this worshipful one — I think I should set up a replica, 
of the old cathedral, as it was first built in the damp 
meadow of Cowholm. No modern architect is likely 
to improve on it. 

Farther along still, we look down * Castle Steps ' 
on to the Market Place, and catch a ghmpse of St. 
Peter's grandly ornamented tower through the trees, 
which just about here are poor and thin and lanky, 
and would be all the better if they were topped, for 
we should then have a fine view of the city, while 
those below in the city would be able to see the 

At last we work round to nearly the place we 
began, and get a view of the upper part of the Cattle 
Market, backed by the dingy old houses of Ber 


2IO A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Street, and recrossing the castle ditch re-enter the 
plain. Some of these days, when the new buildings 
which disfigure the castle are removed, this castle 
ditch will make one of the finest possible recreation 
grounds for the citizens. Fancy what an arena for 
athletic sports it would be, if the broad path at its 
base were black-ashed, and bicyclists allowed to ride, 
and athletes allowed to train on it at stated times ! 

If the visitor is lucky enough to come to Norwich 
on ' Tombland Fair Day,' he will see a collection of 
live-stock which will make him open his eyes, and, 
indeed, he will see a fine show nearly every Saturday. 
He will note with pleasure how very clean and com- 
fortable the cattle-stalls are, but with other feelings 
the way in which the bullocks are unnecessarily 
knocked about. It seems to be articles of faith with 
the drover, first, that all the drove should be com- 
pelled to arrange themselves in a circle, with their 
noses all touching, and their tails radiating outwards 
with mathematical accuracy ; and, secondly, that if a 
bullock stands perfectly quiet, he has some deep and 
vicious design in doing so, and must be promptly 
thrashed for it. 

If we turn to the left, at the base of the Castle 
Mound, by Castle Meadow, we shall get a better view 
of the remains of the outer ditch which we noticed 
from the top, and see how strangely it has been 
adapted to modern use. In one place a charming 
little bit of greenery — a hanging garden — has been 
made on its side ; and just past this we see the back 
of the Royal Hotel, with its long narrow yard. 

The Towns. 211 

We may now turn down the narrow way known as 
the * Back of the Inns,' which runs parallel with the 
* Gentleman's Walk ' of the Market Place, and, turn- 
ing up Hog Hill, reach the end of Ber Street. This 
is the oldest, and widest, and dirtiest street in the 
city, and stands high over the river on a very com- 
manding site ; but it will, I fear, never be very attractive 
to visitors, as the inhabitants of its courts are the 
roughest lot in the place, and their language is more 
remarkable for its easy colloquial power than for its 
elegance. Nor are there any very interesting houses 
in it, for the very old houses are gone, and for three 
centuries or so it has not been a favourite place for 
the rich merchants or the county gentry. 

On its left is St. Michael at Thorn, still with a 
thorn-tree in its churchyard, as becomes it : while at 
its very end, raking it like a fortress of the church, 
stands St. John at Sepulchre. 

If we went straight on we should go through the 
gap in the old wall, where Ber Street gates once 
stood, on to Carrow Abbey, which once stood just 
outside the city, in a pleasant place above the wind- 
ing river. There are a few crumbling foundations 
just laid open, and the parlour of the last abbess, 
but they are hardly worth the trouble of seeing. 

If we turn to the left, just past the wall, we can 
keep along its side down to the river, and note how 
the ' Snuff Tower,' one of the old flint bastions of 
the city wall, would have commanded the approach 
before gunpowder was invented. 

To our right is the great manufactory of mustard 

14 — 3 

2 12 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

(and votes), known as the Carrow Works,* which is 
very well worth seeing indeed to those interested in 
machinery ; but such of my readers as are fonder of 
old work should follow me to the left down King 
Street — once called Conisford Street. It runs on a 
lower ridge of the river-bank than Ber Street, and is 
much more interesting. On its left are several 
churches, the first being St. Peter's, Southgate, which 
is in a shameful state, going wholly to ruins, and its 
tower falling fast ; a strange contrast to St. Ethelred, 
which we come to next, and which has been recently 
well and tenderly restored. The good east flam- 
boyant window and the traces of Norman work here 
should be noticed ; but the next church is the real 
treat for the antiquary, for St. Julian's is the oldest 
in the city, its tower being thought to be Saxon. 

Farther down on the left there is a curious early 
inn ' sign,' a long, highly ornamented carved label 
over the doorway, with the inscription * Princes In * 
on it. Opposite is the * Music Hall,' built on the 
site of Moyses the Jew, who lived in the reign of 
Rufus, from whose grandson Isaac it took its old 
name of Isaac's Hall. I think it clear he was the 
victim who lost his head to King John, and in any 
case he lost this house to him. Few houses in the 
city have had a more memorable history than this. It 
was once the Yelvertons' town house, then the Pastons', 
and lastly the home of Chief Justice Coke. Its two 

* The owner is a very worthy man, and most liberal and fair 
to his army of workmen. I have never heard a man so well 
spoken of by his employe's. 

The Touns. 213 

fine windows and its staircase should be specially 
noticed. There are manj' other interesting houses 
in this street, and you will catch many a picturesque 
glimpse of the river under you, through the court- 
ways and open doors ; but time presses, and I can 
only specially draw attention to the archway of the 
* old Barge ' with its great door well calculated to 
resist the attack of any street rufflers. 

Crossing the foot of Castle Meadow again, we will 
now wend our way to the cathedral. It lies in the 
poorest situation that could have been chosen, in a 
flat plain almost enclosed by a horse-shoe bend of 
the river, but for many reasons is one of the most 
interesting cathedrals in England. The open space 
in front is Tombland, and that gateway is the Ethel- 
bert Gate, so called from standing near the site of a 
church dedicated to St. Ethelbert, which was burnt 
in the great riot between the monks and the citizens 
in 1272. The inlaid flint and stone panelHng over 
the arch is very fine, but not all old. Farther down 
is the beautiful Erpingham Gate ; through it we see 
the west and worst front of the cathedral. 

I am not here going to try to describe the building, 
but the visitor must wander through it carefully, and 
not miss the grand cloisters, the finest in England, 
nor the lavatories in the south-west corner, the fine 
massive Norman pillars and arches, the Norman 
transept, the misereres in the choir, the sealed altar- 
slab in the Jesus chapel, and the elaborate bosses on 
the roof, both of the cathedral and the cloisters. If 
the visitor cares to climb the 313 feet of the spire, 

214 ^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

he will get such a view over the level country round — 
with, if it is a fine day, the glint of the sun on the 
sea at Yarmouth, twenty miles away — as will well 
repay him. 

Leaving the cathedral one can either pass down 
through the Lower Close, and cross the river by 
Sandthorp or Pull's Ferry, where there is an interest- 
ing water-gate, or come out again by the Erping- 
ham Gate and re-enter Tombland. 

The tumble-down old-curiosity-shop at the corner 
of the church alley opposite will no doubt tempt a 
Londoner to take home some remembrance of the 
old city ; and he might do worse, for prices range 
cheaper here as yet than in London, and there are 
no Wardour Street goods made up. He must not 
forget to peer in at the open gateway of the big 
cheese-factor's a little lower down, and peer at 
the two great wooden images which are said to 
have come from Sir Thomas Erpingham's house 
hard by. The turn to the right at the end of 
Tombland — where carriers' carts, a strangely per- 
isstent remnant of bygone da3'S here, have their 
regular rendezvous — would take us by the gateway of 
the Bishop's Palace (well worth looking at) and St. 
Martin-at-Palace, to the old stone bridge at Bishop's 
Gate ; but if we are to continue our walk round the 
city we will keep straight on. 

Here the road narrows, and by a natural sequence 
the drivers of all vehicles (and I may say Norwich 
drivers are exceptionally reckless) become more reck- 
less than ever, and urge their horses on with a 

The Towns. 215 

peculiar local cry, which I can only formulate as 
* Eh ! eh!! hip ar!' which sends them along at a 
speedy hand-canter, puzzling indeed to the walk- 
ing Londoner accustomed to proprietary rights in the 
roadway. To the right is the ' Maid's Head,' the 
best and one of the oldest inns in the place, which is 
built on arches, on which once stood the old Bishop's 
Palace, and which has a very fine original Jacobean 
carved oak bar. 

Passing over the river and turning to the left we 
get into Colegate Street, noticeable for several fine 
old houses. That on the right once belonging to 
Mayor Bacon — flint and stone — is the very one 
which had the ragged staff stuck up on its gates after 
Rett's rebellion was put down, and so gave such 
great offence to the common people smarting under 
memories of Warwick. On the same side of the 
way is St. Michael's of Corslany — noticeable any- 
where for its inlaid flint work — the finest work of its 
sort in England, but which was sadly mauled by the 
hand of the ' restorer ' last year. From here one 
may work round by St. Miles's old Bridge, which is 
said to have had a dragon's mouth as a keystone to 
its arch, and an inscription, 

' When dragon drinks 
Heigham sinks,' 

meaning that when the floods pent up by the so- 
called * New ' Mills — ^juveniles of some four or five 
centuries — reached the top of this bridge the in- 
habitants of the low-lying suburb of Heigham, hard 
by, might look out for themselves. 

2i6 A Pop^dar History of Norfolk. 

Turning from the river up Fisher's Lane we get 
on to the high ground again at the top of St. Giles, 
which is to a great extent honeycombed under the 
houses and roads by tunnels probably worked ages 
and ages ago by the masons of the castle and the 
cathedral for the sake of the chalk. One stretched, 
and perhaps still stretches, right up from Paragon 
Hill to St. Giles's Church ; and it would be just as 
well for those who will soon be building the new 
Catholic Cathedral to fmd out by experimental shafts 
that their site is not undermined by some of these 
hollow ways. If we turn to the left by the old gaol, 
now so soon to be replaced by the new cathedral, 
and keep on, we come to Chapel Field, once noted 
for the ' Chapel in the Field,' and now for its being 
the Norwich public recreation-ground, and a very 
cockneyfied and badly laid-out one it is, too. Frag- 
ments of the old city wall may be seen by its side, 
but of no particular interest ; and St. Stephen's 
Gates, to which we come next, have now no gates at 
all. As I have said before, this is the best entrance 
into the city, and the street which leads us down to 
it has one or two objects of interest, especially the 
old thatched inn, the Boar's Head, on the right, 
and a very finely ornamented plaster ceiling, in 
Messrs. Barwell's counting house on the left. A 
short twist to the left along Rampant Horse Street, 
at the corner of which is the large church of St. 
Stephen's, and again to the right, brings us into the 
Market Place, one of the largest in England. The 
recently restored church of St. Peter Mancroft, with 

The Towns. 217 

its grandly ornamented tower, will be an object of 
as great interest to the spectator as the funny 
pepper-pot-looking cupolas (?) with which the restorer 
has thought fit to surmount it will be of disgust. 
Over the way the Guild Hall, with its armorial 
carving and alternate flint and stone work, with 
some relics of Nelson, is worth attention, and the 
Fish-market, with its dirt and stinks, a careful avoid- 

Want of space prevents me saying much more of 
Norwich. If a visitor would see it aright he should 
come in about midday on a summer Saturday, stroll 
round the Castle Hill and see the Norfolk beasts, and 
wander up London Street, and along the ' Gentle- 
man's Walk,' and see the Norwich beauties — squires' 
wives, parsons' daughters, and all. If he goes away 
and says he has seen better cattle or fairer women 
elsewhere — well, don't believe him. 

There are plenty of pleasant excursions out of 
Norwich. The visitor may stroll down past Charing 
Cross, and keeping on along the lower road, pass the 
quaint well fountain known as St. Lawrence's Well, 
the inscription on which tells us, 

' This water here caught 

In sorte as yowe (*) se, 
From a spring is brought 
Threeskore foot and thre,' 

— and so on. Unluckily the Elizabethan-carved front 

is all that is left, for the deeper new wells of Bullard's 

brewery have drained the spring, and the brewer — 

•■ Good Norfolk. 

2i8 A Popular Histo7'y of Norfolk. 

good Conservative though he is — has not yet been 
gracious enough to connect the pipe with his new 
water. Keeping on, the stroller will presently come 
to the Dolphin at Heigham, now an inn, but 
once the residence of the royalist, Bishop Hall, who 
retreated here when the Puritans ousted him from 
his palace. The outside has a date and a good shield 
of arms, and the inside rooms are very quaint, with 
capital oak panelling, plaster ceiling, and fine doors, 
while behind are the remains of what must have 
been a pleasant garden, sloping down to a river still 
clear and pretty, and now a public bathing-place. I 
remember noting down on one chill October day the 
pencil remark of a local wit on the side of the dressing- 
place : * IT October. The water is damp and un- 
pleasant this morning. — E. G.' 

Straight on one may wander on to Cossey, with its 
park, where the Jerninghams have been seated since 
the reign of Elizabeth, and have staunchly carried 
on their old religion. Great patrons to art, and 
literature too, they have been ; and Norfolk anti- 
quaries must ever be grateful to them for the 
friendly help found in their hall and library by 

* F. C. H.,' Dr. Husenbeth, a writer of more than 
local reputation. 

Another way out of the city is up Magdalen Street, 
noticing the Blind Hospital on the left, past the 

* Greenhills,' with the fine grove of roadside trees, 
patriotically bought for the city by a gentleman 
whose name I ought not to have forgotten ; and 
straight on by St. Faith's — where there are remnants 

The Tozuns. 2 1 9 

of Horsham Priory — to the lovely woods of Stratton 
Strawless. If any tree-planter gets weary and faint 
of heart at the poor progress his young trees make, 
he should come to Stratton for fresh courage. The 
land hereabouts was barren and poor and flat a cen- 
tury or so ago, when the Marshams began to plant 
here, and the Petres at West Wick, a few miles away 
to the east, but now the two bits of scenery that 
strangers notice and admire most in Norfolk are 
Stratton Strawless Woods and West Wick Pond. 
What Sandringham will look like in about a hundred 
years' time, when the Prince's planting has matured, 
I should very much like to, but doubt if I shall, see. 

Another excursion the visitor must not miss is that 
due south to Caister, which is the largest Roman 
camp in England, the walls enclosing thirty-five 
acres. Real existing walls too, obvious to the 
merest layman, and not to be taken on faith from a 
guide-book. Those who know the castle at Burgh 
by Yarmouth, will form some idea of the size of 
Caister if I tell them that that fine castle is only one- 
seventh the size of Caister. Yet another stroll out of 
the city is that of King Street, over Trowse Bridge 
by the cattle lairs, turning in by a nice old flint house 
with red-brick windows, and a date ' 1604,' This 
takes you along the river, by the ruins of the old 
Bishop's country house and some very pretty 
scenery, to the ruined church of Whitlingham, the 
tower of which stands high and conspicuous on a 
knoll above the river. 

Of course, in this rough sketch of what may be 

2 20 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

seen in and near Norwich, I have missed dozens of 
objects of interest. The churches of St. Stephen, 
St. Andrew, and St. Giles, each fine enough to make 
special sights of in any other town, the splendid 
flint-work of the Old Bridewell, the Old Man's 
Hospital in Bishopgate Street, the Bishop's Bridge, 
' Rett's Castle ' — St. Andrew's Hall — the charming 
corner by the Briton's Arms at Elm Hill, the brasses 
at St. John Maddermarket, and the beautiful 
' Stranger's Hall ' hard by, all deserve special visits if 
time can be spared, while on no account must the Nor- 
wich visitor pass the very interesting, if very miscel- 
laneous, collections preserved in the Museum. It is 
a modern building as far as the exterior is concerned, 
and though some people say that the ' Chapel Room ' 
was once part of the old Duke of Norfolk's Palace, 
which stood either on or very near this site, I do 
not think there is anything to support the conjecture, 
for the ornamented ceiling is of much later date. 
Things are rather mixed, but the collection of birds, 
and notably of the Raptoves, hawks and such like, 
would shame the British Museum collection, and a 
wonderful collection of Fungi, set up and coloured 
by Mr. T. J. Munns in a most life-like way, would 
attract attention anywhere. The antiquities proper 
are mostly in the gallery of the Chapel Room ; 
amongst the most curious are some * Anglo-Saxon ' 
funeral urns, and some pilgrims' bottles and grey- 
beards. Those interested in bibulous history should 
see the fine specimens of black-jacks, and the white- 
ware jugs or bottles, with blue inscriptions : *Whit(e), 

The Towns. 221 

1648 ;' * Claret, 1648.' A stone instrument like a 
small quern, found in Wayford Wood, Stalham, and 
a mould for casting pilgrims' signs from Walsing- 
ham, should not be passed over. Of Rett's rebellion 
there are two reminiscences — bits of sheet-lead rolled 
up, found in * Kett's Castle,' and probably intended 
to be used as shot^ and a dagger, found in Dussin's 
Dale, at Sprowston, now corruptly called Ossian's 
Dale. Among miscellaneous articles are a pair of 
embroidered gloves from Paston Hall ; a long rusty 
and very early sword found in the river by Thorpe ; 
some Exchequer tallies ; a fine ornamented spear- 
head from Plumstead Parva ; and a servant's badge, 
with the Walpole crest. A splendid copy of the 
printed Sarum Missal, by Jehan de Pres, and a 
good MS. copy of Wickcliffe's Bible, will interest 

To geologists the magnificent collection of objects 
from the * Forest Bed ' of Cromer will be of the 
deepest interest, for nowhere else can be seen any- 
thing like it. There he will see the stool of a 
fossil tree ; great teeth, jawbones, and shoulder- 
blades of elephants, mastodons, and mammoths. 
One tusk is ten feet long, and two feet eight inches 
round, and the animal must have stood about seven- 
teen feet high. 

So much for Norwich. There are seven other 
centres round which one may conveniently gossip, 
leaving Yarmouth for my next chapter on the 
'Broads' (XIV.), and arranging that a visitor who 
follows the sequence of my * mardle,' as an East 

22 2 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Anglian would call it, will see nearly all that is most 
noticeable in the county. 

Starting from the Foundry Bridge Station the rail 
takes one along the river by the pretty village of 
Thorpe, and soon after turns up north through 
varied scenery to Salthouse, which is the first station 
on the line, and so on to Wroxham, where it 
crosses the river, and a first glimpse can be got from 
the carriage of a Norfolk pool with its water-lilies and 
reeds. Beyond the bridge, if it is summer, one will 
see the masts and sails of dozens of pleasure-yachts 
and wherries moored along the banks on either side, 
for this is the station most convenient to Norwich 
men from which to begin their sailing up the Broads. 
Farther down the line we see Sloley on our left, and 
pass Worstead Church, which is noticeable for four 
hideous modern tulip-like pinnacles which deface its 

Here we should call a halt to see the interior of 
the church, which is a magnificent one, raised by the 
liberality of the merchants who founded here the 
' worsted ' trade. The tower arch screen with its 
quaint inscription, the bosses in the aisle roof, the 
splendid south porch and the fine tracery of the 
'sound-holes,' all render this church particularly in- 
teresting to the architect ; while to the student of 
history the smallness and poorness of the present 
village, which we know from the records must once 
have been an important place, will be noteworthy. 
There is an old dated sampler by ' Rebekah Dawber, 
1726,' hanging up in the Ship, near the church. 

The Towns. 223 

Continuing our journey we pass the beautiful woods 
of West Wick, with the * gazebo ' peeping through 
them on our left, and soon run into North Walsham, 
a quaint little red-brick town nestling in a hollow, 
with its great broken church tower showing con- 
spicuously from the rail. If the excursionist is a 
walker he should by all means come on to * Wals- 
ham,' as the natives call it (calmly ignoring the fact 
of there being another place of the same name not 
far off), by road and not by rail. 

The road by Sprowston and Crostwick is rather 
interesting, with its bits of English scenery ; an open 
common close eaten down by geese, a bridge over a 
brook, and a wooded hill, bringing us to the placid 
little river Bure, at Coltishall Bridge. Coltishall has 
an antiquarian notoriety about it from Henry III. 
having declared its inhabitants free from villeinage 
of blood or body, and its bridge is one of many 
which the ghost of Sir Thomas Boleyn has to cross 
in its headless penitence for his share in his 
daughter's death. Farther down the road we pass 
to the right of Scottow, and keeping along some 
well-wooded country, and under a natural roadside 
avenue, reach the hideous arch crossing the road at 
West Wick. Just by its side to the right is the way 
to the church, well worthy a visit for its interesting 
interior and the monuments to the Berneys and 
Petres. The present Petres, by the way, are so only 
ex parte maternd, for their real name is Varlo. As 
mentioned before, the Petre of his day was a great 
tree-planter, and probably no better effect has ever 

2 24 ^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

been produced than by his skilled landscape garden- 
ing here. Where the road dips through the park 
two ponds have been skilfully cut, one higher than 
and draining into the other, and their banks planted 
so naturally and well that no stranger would imagine 
that the charming spot was wholly designed by man, 
but that it was the remnant of some primaeval wood. 
Farther on we pass through pleasant pine-plantings 
till we see in the crook of a side-way on our right 
the tall single-shafted cross which marks the 
slaughter of Litester's men by Bishop Spencer in 
1381, and soon after spy the two railway stations at 
* Walsham,' lying under us on the same side of the 

North Walsham, considering it was almost wholly 
burnt down at various times, is a picturesque and in- 
teresting place, with its market * cross,' its old- 
fashioned butchers' shops, and its little out-of-the-way 
alleys and streets. The Angel is a comfortable 
and roomy inn near the church, and the Scar- 
borough House, the only private house of note, 
though new-fronted, still contains some fine oak- 
work inside, and carved arms outside. Unluckily 
the church has suffered much, partly from restora- 
tion and partly from want of it ; but its great length 
(159 feet) and fine proportions make it very in- 
teresting. Within are a few brasses, and a gor- 
geously grand mural monument to Sir William 
Paston, the judge who died in 160S, but who is more 
worthily kept in remembrance by his foundation of 
the Paston Grammar School here. The south porch 

The Towns. 225 

should be specially noted, having much very elabo- 
rately carved stone-work about it. 

Resuming our railway ride, we pass the two churches 
of Antingham on our left, and on our right the well- 
known Antingham Ponds, dear to pike-fishers, whose 
* Jordan ' they often are, and which form the head of 
the river Ant. Of course the old story of the two 
churches in one churchyard having been built by 
two sisters who quarrelled, and determined each to 
have a church of her own, is told here as elsewhere. 
In the parish of Thorpe Market is the next station, 
Gunton, and it is singular, by the way, that not one 
of the stations on the line to Cromer is really built 
in the parish whose name it bears. Guntoti Park is 
celebrated for its head of game and its fine gardens. 
Pheasants tamer than most barn-door fowls are un- 
interesting birds, but the greenhouses and orchard- 
houses, though nothing in themselves, are known all 
over England for the flowers and fruit got out of 
them by the ability of Mr. Allan, who has in him no 
trace of the reticence and incivility of most Scotch 
gardeners. The hall was burnt out not long ago, 
and is not yet rebuilt, and very picturesque it looks 
with its great gaunt shell pierced by rows of empty 
windows. It would make a capital ruin, and might 
just as well be left as it is, and a smaller house, more 
suitable to the fortunes of the Harbords, be built else- 
where in the park. 

While at North Walsham, and before proceeding 
to Cromer, for which see the next chapter, the visitor 
will be well rewarded for his pains in walking or 


2 26 A Popidar History of Norfolk. 

driving to Aylsham, by having some lunch at 
the Black Boys, one of the old coaching-houses, 
going to see the church, said to have been built by 
John of Gaunt, and noticing its large size, its good 
13'ch-gatc, and the fine tracery of its aisle windows. 
One excursion hence can be made to cover two in- 
teresting seats, namely Wolterton — which, however, 
is interesting more for its associations than for its 
beauty, it having been built by ihc Sir Robert Wal- 
pole, with what is usually thought peculated public 
money — and Blickling. The latter has a rare 
history of its own, having been at different times 
owned by Harold, by the Bishops of Norwich, 
and by Sir Thomas Boleyn, father of the ill-fated 

A sheet of water about a mile long in the middle 
of a beautiful and well-wooded park, is a fitting 
adjunct to the noble red house, built in the reign of 
James I., with its fine ceiled galleries and carvings, 
and its grand staircase. In the church there are 
plenty of interesting monuments, and especially one 
to the Cleres, with a lot of fudged heraldry, which 
passed muster for nearly 300 years before I took the 
liberty of analyzing and exposing the Clere pedigree 
and quarterings alike. By the way, another ' splendid 
impostor ' in the way of coats of arms is to be seen, 
not far off, at Barningham Northwood, where the 
Palgraves forged their blazonings even more im- 
pudently than these Cleres did. Aylsham should 
not be finally left without a visit being paid to the 
very curious church of Burgh, with its many peculiar 

The Towns. 227 

features, and its fine lancet windows — so uncommon 
in Norfolk. 

Returning to the East Norfolk Railway, the next 
station past Gunton will be Cromer, and a very 
pretty one it is — perhaps commanding the finest view 
of any station in England, the rails leaving off at the 
very edge of a high hill overlooking the town and the 
sea and the lighthouse. Cromer I shall describe in 
my next chapter. From Cromer a pleasant ramble 
westward along the cliffs brings us through Runton 
round the Beacon Hill to Beeston Abbey, or what 
few ruins are left of it. All along here is said to be 
a favourite haunt of the ghost dog ' Shuck,' who, 
inconsistently enough, is at once headless and 
saucer-eyed. The neighbourhood is full of supersti- 
tions and stories. There is a ghostly light* seen at 
intervals to cross a field near Runton Mill and bury 
itself in a copse where once human bones were found ; 
while the Aylmerton Pits, round which a ghostly 
woman is seen * weeping and wringing her hands,' 
are not far off. Sherringham, with its lovely woods 
and most interesting church — which has, I think, the 
only instance in England of a perfect ' practicable ' 
rood-loft and gallery in situ — must not be missed. 
Farther on is Weybourne, still the best anchorage 
on the coast, deep water running right up to the 
shore — which gave rise to the old rhyme, already 
referred to, as to the advisability of would-be invaders 
of England landing here. 

* I went specially to see it last year, but could not. 


2 28 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Perhaps no village has more traces of its early 
inhabitants than Weybourne. There are British hut- 
dwellings, a Roman kiln, and some Saxon work in 
the church. 

Near here, too, is Muckleburgh Hill, one of the 
many ' burgh ' hills along the coast, for we have 
passed Incleborough, and are coming to Warborough 
by Salthouse, and to Garborough and another War- 
borough by Stiffkey. The sea here begins to recede 
from the road — salt marshes from one to two miles 
across intervening — and the scenery generally loses 
the up and down aspect which makes the pedestrian 
once and for all heartily abjure the popular idea that 
Norfolk is a flat country all over. Cley, which stands 
on the mouth of the little river Glaven, is now a dead- 
alive sort of ? " ce, like some of the old towns on 
the south ■•■^^ ^'Jie silting up of the harbour having 
ruined a ^ ^^ .vhich once promised to be of as great 
importance as Yarmouth. The church is a very fine 
one, with some good brasses, and a fine font sculp- 
tured with the seven sacraments. In the churchyard 
rests Captain Grieve, who helped Cloudesley Shovel 
to burn out the Barbary Rovers in Tripoli. Fair 
accommodation to the wayfarer and winter wild-duck 
shooter can be had at the Fishmongers' Arms, a 
roomy, old-fashioned house. 

Blakeney, a little farther on, is just such another 
place as Cley ; but the church is better placed, and 
has several points of interest, specially the turret 
outside the tower — which, like that at Cromer, is said 
to have been used as a lighthouse — and a chamber 

The Towns. 229 

over the chancel, which is the only one I have ever 
seen. There is nothing left of the Carmelite Friary, 
in which flourished John de Baconsthorpe, the 

* Resolute Doctor,' whereof it was said that his 
height was only that of his penknife and his pen and 
his inkhorn and his sheet of paper and his book : 

' Scalpellum, calami, alramentum, charta, libellus.' 

Morston, whose inhabitants are so proverbially 
slow that they are known as * Morston dodmen,' or 
snails, need not detain us ; but Stiffkey, with its 

* tumulus ' and the ruins of the hall begun to be 
built by Sir Nicholas Bacon, is worth waiting at 
before we tramp on to Wells-by-the-Sea. The 

* Stewkey ' people are not so slow nowadays as their 
Morston neighbours, for 'Wood 0^'"^ /^^tiff key ' is just 
now our fastest English amateur i.-.n Miit anything 
up to a quarter of a mile. A sleejAgvvf town is 
"Wells, but having been selected for a railway station 
because its harbour is not quite choked up yet, there is 
more going on than at Cley or Blakeney. The church 
is, or was, a notably fine one, and the oak carving 
on the vestry door is very noticeable. Unluckily it 
was burned down a few years ago, having been struck 
by lightning, and is now but the shell of its former 
self, though remarkably well restored by Mr. Herbert 
Green of Norwich. All the monuments were de- 
stroyed ; but luckily I had copied and printed them 
a few years before the fire, so they are not lost to 

Returning to Wells, after this egotistical digression, 

230 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

I would advise a visitor to put up at the Railway 
Arms (the Globe is dearer and no better than it used 
to be), and after looking at the ample quay, peering- 
about in search of the water, which may be seen at 
high tide, and trying some of the celebrated Burnham 
oysters, which now run Whitstables hard in price, let 
him pause in his coast-line journey, and take the train 
south, A twenty-mile journey will enable him to see, 
perhaps, as many objects of antiquarian interest as 
he could find in any equally long jaunt in England. 
First he comes to the Danish camp at Warham, 
and then to the great Benedictine Abbey of Binham, 
which was founded before 1093. There is a great 
deal still left of it, especially the Norman nave 
and the Early English west front, which is very 
fine, and the general effect from a little distance is 

Walsingham, wuth its prior}-, which was founded 
about the same time as Binham, was known all over 
the Christian world for the wonders said to have 
been done by its image of ' Our Lady of Walsingham,' 
to which so many pilgrimages were made, that not 
only the earthly way to it was known as the 
'Walsingham Way,' but the 'Milky Way' in the 
heavens was supposed to point it out to travellers. 
To the impositions scathingly satirized by Erasmus, 
to the ' wishing wells ' said to have sprung up by the 
Virgin's command, to the little hatch through which 
a knight and his charger were miraculously passed 
through by the Virgin in dire need, one need do no 
more than refer. Excepting those of the Refectory, 

The Towns. 231 

the ruins are insignificant and disappointing, and 
being in the Lee- Warners' park, are not always 
accessible to visitors, though they may be peeped at 
through the railings. 

A couple of miles off we come to the historic 
manor-house of East Barsham, once the seat of the 
Calthorpes, an old Norfolk family, but now a farm- 
house. It is one of the 'finest existing specimens of 
the domestic architecture of the Tudors, the moulded 
brickwork of the fabric and the beautifully^ orna- 
mented chimney-stacks being especially noticeable. 
Why it has not been thoroughly restored and used 
as the * Hall ' again, it is hard to say. It was built 
by Sir William Fermor, who, if I remember rightly, 
was one of the commissioners for plundering church 
goods in the reign of Edward VI., and whose family 
died out in a way which would have delighted Spel- 

Farther down south we reach Fakenham, a 
particularly clean and pleasant market-town, with 
several good old-fashioned inns, especially the Crown. 

Of course the church is the only public building of 
any note, and it is a very interesting one, with a 
battlemented flint and stone tower^ a fine west 
window, a beautiful Perpendicular font, and Tran- 
sitional piscina and sedilia. It is one of the few 
churches that has not been spoiled by injudicious 
restoration, for what the rector has done, chiefly at 
his own expense, has been well done, but not so well 
done as to obliterate the old work. All over the 
church may be seen the crowned * L,' showing how 

232 A Popular History of Js!o7'/olk. 

the town was once the head town of the Duchy of 
Lancaster in this country. 

Yet another short stage by the rail brings us to 
North Elmham, one of the oldest towns, if not the 
oldest, in the county. It was a cathedral town in 
C73 ; and Roman remains having been found here, it 
was, no doubt, a place of importance from the earliest 
times. The see was, however, early removed to 
Thetford, and thence to Norv/ich ; but the Bishop 
long retained a palace here, of which recent excava- 
tions show considerable traces. The 'warlike' Bishop 
Spencer had hcense to embattle it 500 years ago, and 
the moat may still be traced. Bishop Herbert de 
Lozinga, 'the church builder,' founded the church in 
the reign of the Conqueror ; but, excepting in the 
chancel, there is no Norman work left. There is, 
however, something of nearly every other style, and 
the church is a fine, light, and lofty one. 

Another short bit of railway travelling, and we 
reach East Dereham, the only town of any extent or 
importance in Mid-Norfolk. Two very different 
personages lived here at different times — Bishop 
Bonner and Cowper. The former was vicar here, 
but whether a ' native ' or not I cannot say, for 
there has been much that is apocryphal written 
about his parentage, the validity of his consecra- 
tion being denied on the ground that he was illegi- 

Like Beccles and other East Anglian churches, 
there is a ' docker * or ' clochcr,' a square, massive 
bell tower, in the churchyard, standing away from the 

The Towns. 233 

church. * St. Withberga's Well,' once a miracle-work- 
ing spring, is also in the churchyard. She was what 
Bonner was said to be, a love-child, but became 
Prioress here in the latter half of the seventh century ; 
and dying in the odour of sanctity, her body became 
a powerful agency for miracles, so much so that the 
monks of Ely came over in 974 and stole the body 
for the use of their cathedral (pious fraud they called 
it), but the miracle-license was transferred to the 
well by the real owners. 

Here is a very pretty view from the churchyard 
for the lovers of the picturesque, and two good inns 
for the refreshment of the worldly-minded, while the 
sentimental may visit with advantage the tomb of 
the melancholy Cowper in the church. His madness 
is satisfactorily accounted for by the fact that he 
■once paid a prolonged visit to Happisburgh. From 
Dereham it is a pretty drive through Scarning (where 
the visitor will see a fine rood-screen, with a saunce 
bell or ' ting-tang ' in situ, and a curious vestry, and 
may hear the best preacher in the county if it is 
Sunday) to Castle Acre, one of the most interesting 
places in the county. Here are the ruins of a most 
magnificent Norman priory, and the earthworks of a 
very fine Norman castle. The priory ruins are most 
extensive, and some of the additions are very fine, 
noticeably the grand Perpendicular west window; 
but there is little left of the castle, though its earth- 
works are immense, and may have been British. It 
is hardly likely that such a position would have been 
overlooked by the Romans; indeed, we find their 

234 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

traces here, and the so-called ' Pcddars' Way ' was 
straight from Castle Acre to the sea. 

Pentney Priory and Blackburgh Priory both lie 
between us and Lynn ; but there is little left of their 
ruins. The latter is in the parish of Middleton, 
where there is an interesting tower, now habitable, 
called Middleton Tower, which is all that is left of 
Lord Scale's castle. Three or four miles on, along a 
very excellent road. Is Lynn, formerly Lynn Episcopi, 
but now Lynn Regis. 

Lynn is usually guessed at to mean ' Lyn,' a lake ; 
but though I used to agree with this derivation be- 
cause of a lake-like appearance of the wide river- 
mouth, I have come round to think that it must have 
been a transplanted name ; for in all old documents 
it is spelt Len, and we find places of that name in 
Denmark. As a specimen of an old-world town 
which has very little outgrown its old boundaries, 
and which has but few suburbs, Lynn is very interest- 
ing. It has several shows for the antiquary — from the 
great chapel of St. Nicholas, which is 200 feet long, and 
has an eleven-light west window, to the small chapel 
on the Red Mount, which is only 17 feet by 14 feet. 
The big chapel was nominally a chapel of ease to 
the mother church of St. Margaret, and was built in 
1160, but practically rebuilt about 1419. Its 
curiously decorated south porch is one of the finest 
in England ; while the scdilia, the nave roof, and the 
* St. Peter's Door ' should all be carefully studied. 
In any other town this fine building would obtain a 
deservedly special attention ; but it is comparatively 

The Towns. 235 

dwarfed by its mother church St. Margaret, which is 
a cruciform building 240 feet by 132 feet, founded 
by Herbert de Lozinga, the well-known Norman 
church-building bishop. It is said to have had its 
foundation on wool-packs ; but I fancy this only 
came from some donation of wool, or of a wool- 
subsidy in aid of a partial rebuilding. Whatever it 
was built on, its foundations certainly settled very 
much directly, for the tower leans over in such a 
Pisa-like way that it makes a nervous spectator quite 
uncomfortable to go inside it, and look up, though the 
protecting piers have been there in their present 
position a trifle over 700 years or so. Within the 
church are a very line decorated screen, a fine 
Elizabethan pulpit, and the two largest and most 
interesting brasses in England, both dating in the 
fourteenth century — one to Adam de Walsokne, which 
shows a vintage going on ; and the other to Robert 
Braunche and his two wives, which displays a ' Pea- 
cock Feast.' There w^ere originally two more — one 
to Walter Coney and another to Robert Attelath — 
which were equally fine, but which are now gone. 
The tremendously long clerestory should be specially 
noticed, and the clumsy modern building which 
obscures the view of the church from the High 
Street, especially anathematized by all good anti- 

Opposite is the Guild Hall with its elaborately 
checkered flint and panelled front, reminding us of 
the similar building at Norwich. It is much cut 
about and divided ; but the Stone Hall, with a large- 

236 A Popular Ilisioyy of Norfolk. 

light Perpendicular window, is worthy of attention. 
Within are a lot of curiosities, such as the ' Red 
Book,' — said to be the oldest paper book in England, 
and certainly a very old one. ' King John's ' cup and 
sword are usually shown as having been given to the 
town by Cceur de Lion's brother, whose Wash 
experience gave a colour to the vulgar tradition ; but 
though no antiquary who saw the articles believed 
the story for a moment, no one proposed a plausible 
reason for the articles being called ' King John's ' till 
Mr. S. A. Gurney, a local antiquary, very plausibly 
suggested that they were so-called from King John 0/ 
France, not of England, who, while a prisoner, often 
accompanied Edward III. and Philippa on their royal 
progress ; and as we know Edward III. visited Lynn, 
the suggestion seems a sound one, the more especially 
as the cup and sword are of this date. The ' Chapel 
on the Red Mount ' — no doubt on the Rood Mount, 
was built just about 400 years ago; and is, perhaps, 
the most beautiful and most elaborate specimen of the 
architecture of the latter part of the fifteenth century 
that can be found anywhere. The outside is nothing 
— a poor casket for so fine a gem ; but the details of 
the tiny inside arc very lovely, especially the fan- 
tracery, which resembles, but is superior to, that of 
King's College Chapel, Cambridge. The Grey Friars 
Tower not far from us is all that is left of this priory 
here ; but is still perfect, and is a very light and 
beautiful brick-building with stone facings. The 
great squat strong stone south gate is very interest- 
ing, and it is seldom that so fine a city gate can 

The Towns. 237 

now be seen. Of old houses with quaint court- 
yards, of ' Queen Anne ' houses of grand size and 
design, and of deserted staithes and curious corners, 
the visitor will find plenty. He should specially 
notice the Dutch-looking Custom House on the 
quay, which is thought a good deal of by architects 
interested in the work of this period. The Globe 
in the Tuesday Market Place is a capital and 
comfortable inn — perhaps the best I have ever 
stayed at. 

Lynn must not be finally left without a visit to 
what was the Wash and the * Seven Towns of Marsh- 
land,' as Clenchwarton, Tilney, Terrington, Walpole, 
West Walton, Walsoken, and Emneth were called in 
the reign of Elizabeth. The Wash is practically 
non-existent ; for where King John's treasure was 
lost is now reclaimed and fertile land, and no one 
need now hang about the Cross Keys waiting for 
the low tide and a mounted guide to show him the 
shortest and safest way across the sands to Lincoln- 
shire. The attraction of this district is not in the 
scenery, which is flat and level as the sea itself, but in 
its magnificent churches. Nowhere else in England 
can be found in so small a district five such churches 
as Walsoken, Wiggenhall, Walpole St. Peter, West 
Walton, and Terrington St. Clement's. It is difficult 
to give even a guess how a purely agricultural district 
like this should have been able to find the funds to 
erect such churches, or to sustain them when erected- 
Any one of these five would be the pride and glory of 
many a county town, and it is hard to say Vv'hich of 

238 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

the five is the finest. Perhaps Walsoken should be 
named first for its great size, its very fine Norman 
work — especially in its chancel arch — and its quaint 
staged tower, Early English below and Decorated 
above ; butWalpole St. Peter is equally celebrated for 
its beautiful Perpendicular architecture, its strange 
passage under the altar and corresponding high altar 
platform, its range of twenty stalls, and its ' Think 
and Thank ' legend round the base of the font. 
West Walton, with its beautiful detached Early 
English tower, 60 feet or 70 feet away from the 
church, and its extremely beautiful nave and wonder- 
ful carvings ; and Terrington Clement's, with its 
cruciform church and staged tower and fine late font- 
cover, are equally notable, the latter especially for 
its great slightly detached tower, and its long range 
of thirteen clerestory windows. Still some will prefer 
Wiggenhall Magdalen, partly Decorated and partly 
Perpendicular, its old glass, its rood-screen, and 
other points of interest. It was in the adjoining 
parish of Wiggenhall St. Germans that the great sluice 
burst in 1862, and let the flood in over an immense 
tract of this country, which is so low-lying that the 
chancel floor is said to be 8 feet under high-water- 
mark 1 

When one leaves the marshland country on the 
south-east journey back to Norwich, nothing much 
must be expected, either in the way of scenery or 
fine buildings. Swaffham, of course, must be seen, 
for it is a clean little market-town, with wide and 
pleasant streets. Its great cruciform church, long 

The Towns. 239 

and light, with fine tower and clerestory, is indeed 
worth going miles to see ; while the * Black Book of 
Swaff ham ' is almost as early a paper volume as the 
* Red Book ' of Lynn, referred to before. The 
visitor well read in pedlar-myths will probably dis- 
believe the story of John Chapman, the local pedlar, 
who was told in a dream to go to London Bridge, 
and when he got there was sent home to dig up a 
crock of gold in his own back garden, at Swaff ham. 
Something of the same sort, it will be remembered, 
was told of Beggar Smith, whose glass effigy has 
just triumphed over that of a vestry clerk at 

A pilgrimage down south over the bleak sandy 
downs — the ' rabbit and rye ' country, as it used to 
be called — should be made to see the * Grimes 
Graves,' near Brandon — earthworks spreading over 
more than twenty acres, about which so much has 
been written ; but Brandon itself, which is half in 
Norfolk and half in Suffolk, is not a very interest- 
ing place, its old industry, that of making gun- 
flints, having naturally enough died out of late 

Farther down the river is Thetford, also planted 
on both sides of the river, but a vastly more 
important place than Brandon, for it was once the 
capital and cathedral town of East Anglia. It has 
been guessed to be Sitoinagus, and certainly many 
traces of Roman occupation have been found here. 
But the great ' Castle Mound,' steep and high, with 
its grass-grown sides, so difficult even in times of 

240 A Popular History of No-fol/c. 

peace to climb up, is the chief object of interest in 
the town. There are no traces of buildings on it, 
and the platform at the top is so small that the 
generally received theory that it was thrown up as a 
refuge against the Danes is obviously untenable. The 
labour and energy necessary to create such a mound 
must have been enormous, and surely would have 
been expended in comparatively recent times, such as 
those in v.'hich the Pirate-Danes harried our country, 
to more practical use. That the mound is mainly 
artificial I have little doubt ; but whether it was a 
burial mound or not cannot be now discovered with- 
out deeper excavations than are likely to be allowed. 
The ruin one sees from the railway station is a 
comparatively recent gateway leading to the ruins of 
Bigod's Cluniac monastery, which are still very well 
worth inspecting. St. Mary's Church, said to have 
once been used as the cathedral of the diocese, is 
now wholly gone. There are other places betv/een 
this and Norwich which a visitor with plenty of time 
on his hands might dawdle over, such as Rushford, 
with its most interesting * College,' well restored ; 
and Shadwcll Court, which should be looked at 
more in pity than in anger, as the worst specimen of 
the mock-Gothic manor-house ever built. Merton 
Hall, by Watton, is a charming Elizabethan house, 
preserved with great taste, and environed by the 
most lovely * wild ' garden ; but it is right out of 
the way of anyone wending back to Norwich or 
Yarmouth, as we are supposed to be. Diss is a 
clean little town, with the very unusual feature of 

The Towns. 241 

having a fine lake, * Diss Mere,' of five acres or so 
in its middle, w^hich makes it a very picturesque 
place for this part of the world. Harleston and 
Loddon are much about the same sort of places as 
Diss, without its mere. The church at Loddon is a 
fine one, with an enormously long clerestory. 




SUPPOSE one has to consider Yarmouth 
a Norfolk watering-place, though in my 
individual capacity I resolutely decline to 
do so ; and for that reason propose, as I 
shall have to describe it in my next chapter, to omit 
it in our journey along the coast-line, in search of 
real watering-places. 

If there is anything more unpleasant to me than 
Yarmouth, it is the first three miles of road out of 
it, which runs as straight as a die alongside, but 
out of sight of the sea ; for a more dusty and 
uninteresting walk I defy anybody to find in the 

Eventually we get to Caister, noted for its life- 
boat station, which shares with the Yarmouth beach 
boats the honour of rescuing, or trying to rescue, 
the hundreds of sailors who are yearly wrecked on 
the roads. Caister Castle, the red-bricked tower 
which lies away to the left, was built by Sir John 

The Watering-Places and Coast-Line. 243 

Fastolf about 1440, and has had a stirring, if short, 
history of its own. Rumour goes that it is a fac- 
simile of the Due d'Alengon's castle, in France, and 
was built with his ransom when Sir John took him 
prisoner. Here long lived William of Worcester, 
the first of our antiquaries who 'took notes,' and 
who was physician to the old knight. How the 
Fastens acquired the castle, and how they were 
besieged there in a quiet and business-like way by 
their enemies, till the castle was taken from them 
with some loss of life, but without any officious 
unneighbourly intervention of the Sheriff and the 
Posse Comitatus, is it not all written in the ' Paston 

A coast-path, sometimes path and sometimes 
road, takes us along to the low Marrum Hills — 
covered with the blue-green grass which, the natives 
will tell you, it is death by Act of Parliament to 
destroy — past Winterton and Somerton, till we get 
to Horsey Gap. 

Both here and at Winterton the bank against the 
sea is of so slight a character, and the inland marsh 
country has sunk so much through the drying up of 
the bogs and the peat, that some extensive works 
seem absolutely necessary to prevent a recurrence 
of the former sea-floods which have been so disastrous 
in this district. There is not enough left of Hickling 
Priory to make it worth one's while to cut inland 
and see the ruins. But Ingham, with its beautiful 
late decorated church, its founder's monument with 
helmet in situ, and the ruins of the priory for 

16 — 2 

244 ^ Popular History of Norfolk 

' the order of the Holy Trinity and St. Victor 
for the redemption of captives,' is well worth a 

Keeping along the coast we see below us, on the 
sands, the ruined tower of Eccles standing up from 
the beach like a solitary tooth. It was abandoned 
nearly three hundred years ago, for the parish was 
practically gone — through the irruptions of the sea — 
two thousand acres having been known to be lost. 
Singularly enough the stout, honest work of the old 
church builders, with their dressed flints and iron- 
like mortar, seems to have acted as a breakwater ; 
and by banking up the sand has saved what Uttle 
there is left of the village If the tide is down, the 
walk to Happisburgh (Hasboro) along the sands is a 
very pretty one ; if it is not, the visitor had better make 
a wide sweep and get on to the hard road, as the 
walk along the Marrum Hills is a tedious and un- 
pleasant one. 

On this road, perhaps, better than anywhere else on 
the coast, can be noticed the effects of the heavy east 
winds, which always seem to be blowing on to the 
land — the hedgerow trees being bent inward and 
twisted into fantastic shapes, as though frozen while 
being blown almost to the ground by a heavy gale. 
Nothing but maple and ash seems to recover itself, 
and grow straight again. We soon get a glimpse of 
Happisburgh Church tower standing high on a hill, 
while to its right are the two ' Happisburgh Lights.' 
Happisburgh is the first place which we come to 
along the coast, that may be considered as a 

TIic Watering- Places and Coast-Line. 245 

nascent watering-place. The view from the chffs is 
a fine one, and the sands are very firm and good for 
bathing, though there is, or was, only one machine. 
Some few houses let lodgings, and good accom- 
modation can usually be had at the ' Hill House,' 
which is a roomy and well-conducted inn, with a 
pretty bowling-green. 

There are, however, certain objections to the place, 
which should be stated by an honest chronicler. 
There is only one little general shop ; no meat is to 
be bought except at arbitrary and erratic intervals ; 
the seven miles that divide the place from North 
Walsham, where are the nearest railway station and 
doctor, are over the vilest roads that I have ever 
had the hap to come across, chiefly consisting of 
sea-beach ; no newspaper or book has ever been seen 
in the village ; everyone is expected to be in bed at 
nine ; and dulness reigns supreme over the district. 
Cowper used to come here, and Cowper afterwards 
went mad, and I don't at all wonder at it. As 
a substitute for Spain or Chili, I may conscientiously 
recommend the place to absconding city accountants, 
for no one would ever dream of looking here for any- 
body. One should not, however, leave it without 
having a careful survey of the church, which is 
still a very fine one, though it was most shamefully 
' restored ' in 1863, every monument but one in the 
church (it is said there were hundreds of them) 
having been covered up by the new tiling — an act of 
vandalism which I venture to think is unparalleled in 
the whole county, and one which would not be 

246 A Pop^dar History of Norfolk. 

ventured upon by the most impudent parson of 
the present generation. The tower has luckily 
escaped the attentions of the architect and his 
employer ; indeed, it would have been hard for them 
to have found an excuse to lay hands on so perfect 
and handsome an erection. It is 107 feet high, 
square embattled, and of flint, with tracery still in 
the windows and sound-holes. The two courses of 
base ornament should especially be noticed, the first 
being trefoiled stone arches filled in with square 
flints, while the second is a range of particularly 
handsome flowing ornament. 

Keeping along the coast from Happisburgh north, 
the first object of interest is, of course, the ruins of 
Bromholm Abbey, which is only about three miles 
as the crow flies, but vastly more * as the road go.' 
The road 'go,' in fact, very strangely along this coast, 
for there is no roadway running parallel with the 
sea, as is the case nearly always on other coasts. 
There are plenty of roads like those running from 
Ruston through Walcot, and from Witton to Bacton 
to the sea, which we must suppose originally joined 
in with some seaside road. But here there can be 
very little doubt that the seaside road they once 
joined has itself been swept away by the inroads of 
the ocean. The ruins of the great abbey of Bacton, 
otherwise Bromholm, founded early in the twelfth 
century by William de Glanville, are very well 
worthy of special notice, and the best account of them 
will be found in Harrod's * Castles and Convents of 
Norfolk.' Antiquarians will remember that this was 

The Watering- Places and Coast-Line. 247 

the abbey that owned the great piece of the true 
cross which was embedded in the * Holy Rood of 
Bromholm.' There is a beach and bathing-place 
at Bacton, and two or three people who are fonder 
than I of extreme and remote seclusion have built 
them houses on the edge of the cliff, and, I have 
no' doubt, enjoy themselves in their own peculiar 

The walk from Bacton to Paston by the road is a 
very pretty one, and though the hall of the Pastons, 
so well known in history, is now gone, the church 
which bears their name is a very picturesque one, 
with its square low tower and thatched nave, barely 
peeping above the trees which closely embower it. 
It is a large building of rough flint with decorated 
windows and a new lych-gate, but it is chiefly notice- 
able for its churchyard, which is one of the prettiest 
I have ever seen, and is a model for the adoption 
of country parsons, with its magnificent growth of 
Gloire de Dijon roses and Virginian creepers. Though 
the hall is gone, the hall-barn is not, and a 
grand barn it is, built 303 years ago of dressed 
flint, with an elaborate timber roof that would 
shame many a West-country and Midland church. 
While so near Knapton, it would be a great pity 
not to strike a little inland to see its beautiful 
church roof, noted all over England for the 
boldness and elaborateness of its design. A stupid 
local tradition makes out that the roof was found in 
the wreck of a Spanish ship which came to grief on 
the coast hard by ; but the startling coincidence of 

248 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

the dimensions of the roof with those of the older 
edifice on which it was providentially placed, makes 
the story rather hard to believe. 

Mundesley is the first of our few Norfolk watering- 
places which is worthy of its name ; in fact, a good 
many people would cavil at its being called a water- 
ing-place at all, for I don't think there is any bath- 
ing accommodation beyond the bare sands and the 
hotels, and lodgings are not very grand. The Ship 
is a clean and respectable inn close to the sea, but 
there is more accommodation in the Royal, which is 
clean and comfortable, most of it being let off as 
lodgings. The sands are firm and good, though the 
sea is making terrible inroads all along the coast. 
The old village is prettily situate, huddled round the 
banks of an impetuous little river, which is distinctly 
visible to the naked eye after heavy rain, but which 
in bygone days must have had much more water in 
it, for it feas cut a deep and sharp channel down to 
the sea. From Mundesley the cliff heightens fast, 
and beautiful views of the sea can be obtained from 
the rises of the road, and especially at Beacon Hill, 
a rugged furze-grown and wind-blown spot, which 
is said to be the highest land in Norfolk. A couple 
of miles inland, and below us, is Gimmingham, the 
head of John of Gaunt's possessions in Norfolk, 
where he had a park and a palace, now unhappily 

Continuing along the coast, through a deep-cut 
lane which does duty for a road, and which is 
literally embowered with vegetation, we come to 

The Watering -Places and Coast-Line. 249 

Trimmingham, a pretty village with a grey old 
church which has suffered severely from the ruthless 
hands of ' Restorers.' Once it is said to have held 
the head of St. John the Baptist, and pilgrimages 
used to be made to the relic. From the absence of 
any mention of so celebrated a relic in any but local 
wills, I expect, as I have already said, that * head ' 
meant an artificial image or representation only. 

The walk along the coast is through deep-cut 
lanes, winding strangely along to Sidestrand. The 
old church stood on the edge of the cliff, but has 
lately been dismantled and rebuilt farther inland, 
with what I must consider very questionable taste. 
Half the money that the new church has cost would, 
if it had been spent judiciously in groins and piles on 
the beach below the old building, not only have saved 
it, but have checked the inroads of the sea along this 
coast. This, however, would not have gratified the 
instincts of the meddlers and muddlers. The same 
unhappy taste to disturb existing buildings is shown 
in the next village of Overstrand, where the old 
church has been left to ruin so as to form an excuse 
for the erection of a new church in the same church- 
yard, which jars the eye sadly. 

If we strike the cliff path by Kirby Hill, we shall 
soon, after climbing over some breezy downs, covered 
with short, close turf, see Cromer lying beneath us 
as in a cup, with its great grey church standing out 
masterfully over the red-tiled roofs of the old town. 
If one stops and sits on the cliff opposite the * new ' 
lighthouse tower and looks down, one will see evidence 

250 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

everywhere of how the sea has been cominj^ in and 
wasting the land. Some works have at last been 
started to stay it, and none too soon, for the cliff here 
falls away landwards almost as abruptly as it does 
towards the sea ; and if this narrow hog-backed slip of 
land ever goes, it won't be very long before the sea 
will run right up to the picturesque railway station 
that stands on the knoll to our left. The visitor need 
not be a conjuror to guess that the grand church, 
which was 180 feet long, with a tower 160 feet high, 
and which for delicacy of ornamentation has no 
equal in the county, was never built for the accom- 
modation of the few fishermen who formed the 
inhabitants of the village before it became known as 
a watering-place. The houses of those who built it 
lie out to sea, covered with seaweed, and visible only 
at very low tides, when the streets can clearly be 

Still farther out to sea are the remains of a yet 
older village, called Shipden, once a port of import- 
ance along this coast, but which, with its church, 
succumbed to the waves 500 years ago. A piece of 
the flint tower of the church is occasionally visible 
at low tides about 400 yards out to sea, and is now 
called 'the Church Rock.' 

Cromer itself, though perhaps not so important 
a port as its predecessor, Shipden, must have been a 
thriving and busy place, for I find letters addressed 
from the Privy Council to its Mayor, and there 
was an Admiralty Court held here for a long time. 
As late as 1528 it sent out thirty ships, trading 

The Watering-Places and Coast-Line. 251 

chiefly to Iceland and Norway, and carried on a 
great North Sea fishing trade also. But ' the rages 
and surges of the sea' proved too much for the 
engineers of the period, and the pier, which was 
partly used for a jetty and partly as a protection 
against the water, gradually fell into bad repair, and, 
being washed away, left the place at the mercy of 
the waves. The few fishermen who were left could 
not afford to keep so enormous a church in repair, 
and the lessee of the great tithes, himself a clergy- 
man, actually obtained leave from the Bishop of Ely 
to destroy the chancel, which he accomplished by 
blowing it up by gunpowder, as the honest work of 
the old masons was too strong for his villainous 
hands. A scheme has now been made for re-erecting 
the chancel and strengthening the tower, and, if this 
is done, the view from the tower end through the 
chancel arch will be grand indeed. 

As a watering-place, Cromer is chiefly noticeable 
for the firmness and extent of its sands, which afford 
unHmited bathing accommodation, the great beauty 
and variety of the neighbouring scenery, and its old- 
fashioned air of comfort. Lodgings and everything 
else are outrageously dear in the season ; and long 
may they remain so, keeping out of the place the 
cockney hailing from London and elsewhere ! There 
are no amusements except those provided by Nature. 
The best inns are Tucker's, the Hotel de Paris, and 
Chapman's. Under the first-named are some old 
vaults, but the town having suffered so severely from 
fire and water, there are no old houses of any 

252 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

interest. The history of the growth of Cromer as a 
watering-place would be an interesting one, if it ever 
could be written. A valuable contribution to it would 
be a delightful little book of some fifty-seven pages, 
published in 180G, by an anonymous writer, and 
entitled ' Cromer : a Descriptive Poem,' and consist- 
ing of some 700 lines of the blankest verse I have 
ever had the luck to come across. Its dedication to 
Mrs. Wyndham, of Cromer Hall, is, however, neat : 
' Of Cromer it has often been doubted whether the 
spectator derives a greater pleasure from the sublimity 
of its sea views or the beauty of its landscapes ; and 
of you, madam, it is difficult to determine whether 
you are more to be admired for the dazzling at- 
tractions of your person or esteemed for the amiable 
quahties of your heart.' After this one mechani- 
cally turns to the list of subscriptions to see how 
many copies taken by the dedicatee rewarded the 
dedicator, but unluckily there is no subscription list 
in my copy. Of its originality, two specimens will 

suffice : 

* No foot is heard upon the jetty's base ; 
I am alone, and leaning o'er its side 
I gaze in silence, thinking on the deep, 
Its dangers and its wonders and its paths, 
Dark, trackless, and unsearchable by all 
Save by His eye Who,' etc., etc. 

But this is good : 

* Quiet the steady Sociable proceeds, 
No danger in its course, and in the rear 
The humbler vehicle, that bears displayed, 
In letters lc;j;ible to every eye, 
The Stamp of fiscal avarice' 

The Watering- Places and Coast- Line. 253 

He means a taxed cart. 

Later on the place became a sort of rendezvous 
for a clan formed by the allied Quaker families of 
Buxton, Gurney, Hoare, and the rest of them, who 
must be credited with great taste in discovering the 
beauties of the place, but whose invasion of it by no 
means tended to the general comfort of other visitors. 
However, now that the rail is open to Norwich, one 
need no longer be refused the right to purchase 
articles of food in market overt on the ground that 
Mr. X., Y. or Z. might want them ! 

Beyond Cromer to the west there are lodgings to 
be had at Runton, which will spring up into a water- 
ing-place directly the new coast -line rail is 
opened ; as will, no doubt, Sherringham and Wey- 
bourne, two charmingly pretty places on the sea- 
shore, described in my last chapter, Holkham, near 
Wells, has a good inn, the Victoria Inn, at the very 
gates of Lord Leicester's Park, and visitors m.ight do 
worse than stay here and spend a few days explor- 
ing the results of the woodcraft of ' Coke of Norfolk,' 
who, by his planting, turned a barren waste into one 
of the finest demesnes in England. There are no 
cliffs here, the coast-hne being sandy * meals ' swarm- 
ing with rabbits. 

Fourteen miles or so on by the pretty coast road, or 
an hour by rail, brings us through Burnham Thorpe, 
the birthplace of Nelson, and the Roman station of 
Brancaster to our last watering-place — Hunstanton. 
We come first by the road to the old town where is 
the hall once inhabited by 'Strange Lying Roger,' as 

2 54 ^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

Sir Roger L'Estrange's name was once anagrammed, 
the Cavalier pamphleteer and plotter. The beauti- 
ful Decorated church, which has been admirably 
restored and looked after by the owners of the 
advowsons, descendants in the female line from the 
L'Estranges, whose monuments are so interesting. 
The nave roof and the Norman font should be espe- 
cially noticed. A mile or so on we come to the new 
town, which was to have been called * St. Edmunds,' 
but which has firmly declined to be so labelled. 
It is a very ordinary waterside place, with lodging- 
houses, piers, terraces, and so on ; and is much 
frequented by excursionists from the Midlands. The 
Golden Lion used to be the best house, but is 
eclipsed by the ' Sandringham ' — a pretentious but 
fairly comfortable London-terminus-looking hotel. 
The view westwards across the sea is a fine one, and 
* Boston Stump ' on the Lincolnshire coast is clearly 
visible on a fine day. 

There is no good bathing along the coast, but the 
road to Lynn (already described) is a very pretty one 
indeed ; and if the visitor has a good horse, a bicycle, 
or a tricycle, he is strongly recommended to use it 
instead of the railway, which is as slow and in- 
convenient as any in England. Heacham and 
Snettisham churches and Ingoldisthorpe Hall are 
all very worthy of careful examination. Between 
Dcrsingham and Sandringham the county is open, 
and is being well planted by the Prince of Wales, 
who I hope may live long to see the delightful results 
of his hobby. Sandringham itself is nothing to see. 

The Watering-Places and Coast- Line. 255 

It was bought vastly dear, and has had a tremendous 
lot of money spent on it, and is still a very poor place 
for the heir-apparent. Gunton or Blickling would 
have been much more suited for him, and with the 
same money spent on them would by this time have 
been little palaces. 

Castle Rising is the last place of interest we pass 
through before we reach Lynn. Its church is, perhaps 
the finest and most compact instance of Norman 
work I know, with its magnificent west front, which 
has been so often engraved. The castle with its Nor- 
man keep almost perfect, and its earthworks which 
Harrod thought Roman, but which may have been 
still earlier, are worthy of very special study. The 
she-wolf — Queen Isabella — was long kept here by her 
son, but not in the strict custody that has been said ; 
and I need hardly say that the story of the subter- 
ranean passage between the keep and the Red Mount 
at Lynn, through which the King is said to have 
secretly visited his mother, has not the faintest 
foundation on fact. 


T is painful for one who has known and 
loved the Broads as long as I have, in 
common honesty, to say that their charms 
have been grossly exaggerated of late. 
To read some of the word-painting about them 
you would think that you had only to leave Yarmouth 
and sail up the North River to get at once into a 
paradise of ferns, flowers, and fish, where you could 
not fail to fill your basket or bag ; or to see, at 
all events, myriads of wild birds of the rarest sorts 
in the air, shoals of fishes in the water, and any 
quantity of rare water-plants on the bank. The first 
few miles will effectually disillusionize any stranger 
who has been taking in the * Swiss-Family-Robinson ' 
sort of rubbish referred to above, for he will be dis- 
gusted with the very muddy flint walls of a tediously 
winding river dragging itself along through a flat 
uninteresting marshy country, varied only by drain- 
age-mills in various stages of dilapidation, and by 
telegraph-poles. Even when at last Yarmouth 

The Broads and Marshes. 257 

Church finally disappears, after having come into 
view about a dozen times through the windings, and 
the river wall with its rats and dirt changes into the 
regular river scenery, he will see nothing particularly 
pretty. On either side of the river there is a long 
strip of marshy land locally called the * Rond,' covered 
with coarse poor wet grass and fringed with the blue 
flowers of the wild Michaelmas daisy. Then comes 
a new -looking grass bank and great stretches of 
marsh or water-meadow with hundreds and hundreds 
of cattle fattening on it. Nor is the Yare much 
more interesting ; for, except that behind the water- 
meadows rise fairly high hills mostly wood-covered, and 
obviously once the banks of the old estuary, the view 
from the water differs little from that just described. 
The first thing to catch the eye of the stranger is 
always the local barge, here known as a wherry. 

The wherries are long low boats, built on lines 
much resembling those of the Viking's Ship found in 
1880 at Sandefjord. They carry one enormous 
brown sail only, draw very little water, and sail 
nearer the wind than any yacht ; while for speed they 
can go as fast as anything. It is, indeed, a sight to 
see a ' light ' {i.e., unloaded) big wherry * roaring ' 
down over Breydon with a wind, and one that would 
not be forgotten easily by the owner of many a crack 
South-country yacht that tried to keep with her. 
Many are large boats ; the Wanderer, for example, 
being eighty tons. The wherrymen who work them 
load and carry the cargo, and get 8d. out of every 
shilling of freightage ; the other groat going to the 


258 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

owner who finds and repairs the wherry. Sometimes 
a man will make £\ a voyage between Yarmouth 
and Norwich, and the quasi-partnership between the 
men and the masters is based on a very sound 
principle ; for it is obviously to the former's interest 
to make as many voyages and earn as much money 
as possible, the result being that the men are most 
skilled watermen, and very sober and industrious. 
Unlike London barges and canal boats, the snug httle 
cabin for the man and his wife is in the stern — a 
much more comfortable arrangement, for all the 
draft wind is avoided. During the last few years it 
has become the fashion for private parties to hire one 
of these wherries instead of a yacht, and as they can 
go where few yachts can, and as their accommoda- 
tion is roomy in the extreme, with headway all about, 
the fashion will no doubt spread. They can be hired 
ready fitted out for private parties at about ^'j los. 
a week from Cubitt and Walker, of North Walsham, 
or from Mr. H. George, the hon. secretary of the 
local yacht club at Surbiton Lodge, Gorlcston, who 
is also agent for several yacht-owners. Yachts of all 
sorts can be hired at Hart's, Thorpe by Norwich, or 
Tungate at Icehouse Lane, Bracondale, and Loyne's 
patent boats with oilskin covers for sleeping under 
(capital things in the real summer-time) of the 
patentee at Elm Hill, Norwich. They are, however, 
veritable rheumatism-traps in the late autumn and 
winter, and are always open to the objection 
that if rain comes on suddenly the boat and its 
contents get drenched before there is time to get the 
coverings up, and that they are no protection in a 

The Broads and Marshes. 259 

* smurry ' day. Besides, it is all very well, but 
sailcloth and oilskin do not keep out the cold Hke 
good thick planking. The last winter I slept out in 
my own boat — a round-topped old 14-tonner — and was 
as snug and as warm as could be ; while the water 
we had washed up crockery in after supper froze | inch 
thick just outside the cabin door. A pleasure-wherry 
is undoubtedly the most comfortable boat on which 
to see the Broads, the six-feet headway being 
delightful. The wherries have quite superseded the 

* keels ' which used to be the only boats sailing on 
these waters, and which carried a great square sail on a 
mast stepped nearly amid-ships ; whereas the wherries 
have theirs right into the bow. Whether the keels 
were identical with the Newcastle keels I don't know ; 
but they were quite distinct from the wherries, as is 
evidenced by the Norwich public-house sign of the 

* Keel ani Wherry.' 

Anyone wanting a short run up the Broad district 
from Yarmouth can always get a lift in one of these 
wherries if he walks down to the limekilns, past the 
bowling-green, and makes terms with a wherryman 
who is just through the bridge and about getting his 
mast up again ; and he is sure to have a pleasant 
day's outing at a very moderate price, and hear some 
good stories if he can persuade the man to talk, 
which, by the way, everyone cannot. The wherry- 
men are great at old jokes and tales, and have certain 
standing formulae of greeting on meeting another 
coming up or down ; e.g. : ' There you go 1' which 
should apparently be answered, * There you blow 1' 

17 — 2 

2 6o A Popular History of Norfolk. 

They tell tales, too, of various simple members of their 
fraternity; such as how when one man dropped a kettle 
overboard while sailing, he ran to the side of the boat 
and cut a * snotch ' with his knife to mark the spot 
and so be able to find it again ; and how another, 
when complaining that his berth was higher at his 
heels than his head, accepted the tendered advice to 
turn the head of his wherry round, without, however, 
finding much relief thereby. Sometimes one sees a 
big lumbering, flat-bottomed, round-nosed barge from 
London, Rochester, or Harwich coming along which 
has been chartered right through, but which can only 
go with a fair wind, as she is not handy enough to 
tack on these waters. 

The pleasantest way to see the Broads, and so 
avoid the unfavourable impression which a start 
from Yarmouth gives you, is to take the rail to 
Wroxham Station, and start down the river from the 
staith hard by. It is hardly worth while to go up 
the river, for it rapidly narrows and shallows, and 
though pretty, is scarcely navigable, still small 
yachts can get up to Coltishall, and row-boats and 
canoes even farther. From the station at Wroxham 
you can see the river-banks dotted in the summer- 
time with yachts and pleasure-wherries as close as 
they can be moored, there not unusually being fifty 
at the same time placed, bow to stern as close as 
possible, on both sides of the river. Wroxham is, 
in fact, ihc headquarters of Norfolk yachting, from 
the convenience of the rail landing one at once into 
the prettiest part of the scenery. But it is very 

The Broads and Marshes. 261 

badly supplied with shops and other victualling 
accommodation, so food for the voyage had better 
be provided from Norwich (SnelHng's in Rampant 
Horse Street, or the various chief hotels, make up 
hampers of all sorts of provisions; and Grimmer, 
in St. John's, supplies very reliable potables), or from 
North Walsham, which is the nearest station, and 
where the hostess of the Angel will victual any- 
one very well, and reasonably. It may sound as 
though I am unduly impressing on the intending 
ciuiser the necessity of getting his food and drink 
on board before starting ; but except by accident, 
when one may get fowls and eggs, there is no place 
between Wroxham and Yarmouth where eatable food 
or drinkable drink can certainly be obtained. Good 
water, too, is very scarce, and I am beginning to 
doubt whether the wherrymen's simple expedient of 
taking it out of the river is not better than drawing 
it from doubtful wells. There are several waterside 
inns at Wroxham, the best being the King's Head 
(Jimpson's), which has improved of late years. 

Starting down river, we soon come to some 
closely-wooded country, the bushes and trees of 
which run down to the water's edge, and are a great 
nuisance to those, who delight in sailing only, but 
are very pleasant to those who love nature and 
would rather dawdle along and notice everything, 
than rip along with one's deck at an angle of 45° to 
the horizon. In the recesses of the little pulk- 
holes are great clumps of the Osinunda regalis, the 
great king fern, seven and eight feet high, but 

262 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

luckily extremely inaccessible, and therefore not 
likely to be soon stolen away. To the right are the 
entrances, or ' gatways,' to Wroxham Broad, a fine 
sheet of water, more open than most of the Norfolk 
Broads, and with fewer inlets and creeks. * Wrox- 
ham Water Frolic ' used to be a great institution, 
and the regatta which followed it is still a successful 
one. The Broad is a great place for fishing in 
summer, and skating in winter. 

All along the marshy banks of the river arc 
innumerable little pools, or ' pulks,' interspersed with 
marshy islands, the haunt of pheasants in the 
summer and autumn, and of coot in the winter. 
On very many of these are wild black-currant 
bushes, growing and fruiting well — a fact which 
proves the soundness of the horticultural dictum that 
the black-currant grows best in a damp, shady place. 
The natives tell you that the seeds are brought by 
birds ; but as in some spots near here, such as 
' Black Currant Carr,' the bushes are very plentiful, 
it may indeed be doubted whether the plants are 
not indigenous. 

Twisting and turning, the river goes on till we 
catch a glimpse of the large trading village of 
Horning — or rather Horning ' Street ' — on the left 
bank. There is some sleepy business done here 
with malt, and there is a decent river-side public- 
house at which it is sometimes possible to obtain food 
of some sort or another. Whether the fact of half the 
population being employed or interested in the malt- 
houses renders their children rabid anti-teetotalers, 

The Broads and Marshes. 263 

I don't know; but it is undoubtedly the fact that 
never a yacht or a pleasure-boat goes by Horning 
Street without being favoured from the bank, by boys 
and girls alike, with a somewhat garbled and in- 
consequential version of * Hey, John Barleycorn,' 
sung prettily enough to a running accompaniment 
for coppers. A few thousand years hence, when the 
river has silted up, and its bed is dry, future genera- 
tions of antiquarians will wonder extremely at the 
enormous quantity of copper coins of the reign of 
Victoria I. which will be found there. 

Whilst on the subject of malt, by the way, I would 
recommend those strangers who sail on these waters 
to let their watermen have a liberal allowance of the 
local public-house ale ^cy diem, rather than try to 
supply their wants with a better article obtained from 
Norwich or Yarmouth, and which would be quite 
wasted on them. Over the bibulous propensities of 
the watermen one would fain draw a veil ; but the 
usual unpleasant results of drink are generally absent, 
for they are apparently able to drink not only any 
* given,' but any ' taken,' quantity with impunity. 
My readers may think me joking, but I can assure 
them that I know of a well-authenticated case of a 
Yarmouth waterside loafer, who was allowed to help 
himself, taking down a soda-water tumbler of neat 
brandy in two appreciative gasps, and walking away 
q\ te untouched. 

These Yarmouth loafers — Yarmouth pirates as 
they are termed, half in joke — who press their 
services on every boat going up the North River, are 

264 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

a tremendous nuisance. To hear them talk, Scylla 
and Charybdis were child's-play to the unassisted 
novice who tries to get, unaided, through the 
suspension-bridge ; and woe be to the yachtsman 
who leaves his victuals and drink near the lime- 
kiln for half an hour unguarded, or guarded only by 
a friendly waterman! I had two bottles of whisky 
and a bottle of wine consumed by friends of my 
man* one night while I was away, and the only 
satisfaction I hal was being able, the next morning, 
to sternly refuse his urgent entreaties for soda-water 
to cure what was obviously an uncommonly bad 

This, however, is all wandering sadly from Horn- 
ing Street, so we will go on once more down the 
river. The gap to our right is the entrance to 
Ranworth Broad, one of the prettiest of the Broads, 
being better backed up by woody slopes than most 
of them are. 

It is, however, its church and its contents that 
make Ranworth so well known, for ' Ranworth rood- 
screen,' with its magnificent panel paintings of 
twelve saints, and its fine parcloses, is perhaps the 
best in England. A little farther down, and to our 
left, is the little river Ant ; and up this we must 
diverge for a while, if we want to see the fine Broad 
at Barton — the chief home of the water-lilies, and 
one of the few remaining habitats of the swallow-tail 
buttcrlly. Every boat, however, cannot squeeze 

** I need not say that was before I was lucky enough to come 
across the veteran Tungate. 

The Broads and Marshes. 265 

under Ludham bridge, which is a standing disgrace 
to the road authorities, for when there is much 
water out it simply stops the passage of any large 
wherry. Last year I heard how a pleasure-wherry 
just scraped through, when down came a lot of rain, 
and she could not get back again ; and the unlucky 
hirer had to pay £"7 or ^^8 a week, and feed his men, 
for the privilege of staying above. Irstead Church 
should be visited for its font, and Barton Turf for 
its rood-screen, second only to Ranworth ; and in a 
light-draughted boat, a trip up past Wayford Bridge 
(on the knoll above which is a Roman camp, the 
' Devil's Ditch'), and on nearly to North Walsham, 
is a pleasant and very quiet one. All up this river 
Ant the fishing is very good indeed, lots of perch 
and rudd being catchable — erode experto — by the 
veriest novice elsewhere accustomed to failure. 

For some time before we re-enter the North river, 
we see the great ruined gate-tower of St. Benet's 
Abbey, standing out among the level marshes dotted 
all over with innumerable fattening cattle, and 
passing by it, moor off the fragments of a massive 
flint wall, no doubt the remains of the monks' 
necessarimn, which makes a most convenient landing- 
place just before we reach a low little old building, 
now unluckily divided into two cottages, once 
undoubtedly the porter's lodge, or water-gate. 
Within it are some old arches, but the visitor should 
evade paying a fee for being shown 'the brass of the 
last abbot,' which is kept in one cottage, but which is 
really a layman's inscription-brass only — of, I think, 

266 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

the sixteenth century — of the usual type. Second 
only in date to Thetford of our Norfolk monasteries, 
St. Benet's at Hulme is said to have been founded 
by the Saxons about a.d. 800, and to have been 
refounded by Canute in 1020. Standing in what is 
still a most lonely and inaccessible part of the 
marshes, it must have then been the very place for 
real retirement from the cares and troubles of the 
world ; but as it was far from human help, its 
occupants no doubt thought it necessary to fortify 
themselves against the attacks of marauders, and 
built themselves a strong place of refuge, which, it 
is said, had to stand a siege by the Conqueror. 

Except the old tower, which long served as a 
water drainage-mill, and which has some good work 
still left in it, and the massive foundation of the 
abbey church, there is little left of what was once 
the home of the mitred Abbot of St. Benet's, who 
was one of the most powerful persons in England 
in his day. The size of the precincts can be 
seen from the top of the tower, the circle of trees 
showing it well. It encloses an old orchard, and has 
two or three oblong stews, or fish-ponds, now grown 
up with weeds. 

A mile or two past the abbey, and we come to 
another river, the Thurne or Hundred Stream, 
which joins us also on our left. To be more 
correct, one should say wc join the Hundred Stream, 
which is perfectly straight with the latter part of the 
Bure, and which I cannot help thinking was once 
DiQ river of the district, but which has probably been 

The Broads and Marshes. 267 

affected by some of the numerous subsidences of the 
peaty bog. 

It is well worth our while turning up the Hundred 
Stream, leaving the pretty little village of Thurne on 
our right, and Womack Broad — nearly grown up — 
and the Grange, or Bishop's Farm, at Ludham, on our 
left. The house was burnt down in 161 1, and with 
it, unluckily, certain records relating to presentations 
and institutions, and * all the auditt rolls and divers 
evidences of the Bishoprick.' It must have been a 
rather extensive building, with a steward's chamber, 
pantry, buttery, great hall, tailor's chamber, woman's 
chamber, dining-parlour, gallery, and a great 
number of bedrooms, and a dove-house and * ferret - 
house ' outside. 

Farther up we come to Heigham Bridge — an old 
stone building — leading up to Potter Heigham, sup- 
posed to be so called from some Roman pottery 
having been here. But it used to be called Potteres 
Heigham, and may have been only so called from 
a former owner's name in contradistinction from 
Heigham by Norwich. It is curious that there is a 
Potter Hanworth in Lincoln also in the thick of a 
Danish settlement. Why the local proverb should 
run : ' Blessed are they who live near Potter Heigham, 
and doubly blessed those who live in it,' I can't say. 
The biggest hawthorn-hedge I ever saw is up the 
road, nearly opposite the Falgate Inn, so called from 
a representation of a gate hanging over the road — 
a fal-gate meaning, according to some, a fald or fold 
gate ; to others, a * falling gate,' i.e., a hanging gate 

268 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

to a common, which, being hung over, shuts to with 
a bang by its own weight when you have passed 
through it, so that no animals can wander off the 
common. Just above the old stone bridge is the new 
railway bridge, carrying the light line from Yarmouth 
to North Walsham ; and the double obstacle will, I 
fear, deter many from sailing up to Ilickling Broad, 
the largest if the shallowest of any of our lakes. 
There is very little left of Hickling Priory — founded 
exactly 700 years ago — but what little remains is 

Farther on still one may get up, in a row-boat — or 
a small sailing-boat, if well handled — to Horsey Mere, 
with its ' Horsey Pike — none like,' the last and most 
lonely of the Broads, and separated only from the 
sea by a mile and a half of sand-bank. The sea 
came in here once, and I hope it never may again ; 
but as the 'fresh-water-land' keeps on subsiding, the 
bank will be more liable to go. 

When we rejoin the main river, we have on our 
left the two Flcgg hundreds, of which nearly every 
village bears an obviously Danish name. Winterton 
and Somerton seem exceptions, but it is curious to 
notice that there are places of the same names in 
the north of Lincolnshire, among an equally dense 
Danish settlement. 

Acle Bridge, which is the next old bridge we come 
to, is a mile or so from Acle Town, the way to which 
is along a desperately straight and uninteresting marsh 
road. The church is a fine one, and the churchyard, 
with its lime avenues, pretty ; but the town is best 

The Broads and Marshes. 269 

known from its celebrated priory, founded by Roger 
Bigod. Some broken ground nearly opposite the 
church is all there is to show of the priory. Possibly 
the cut from the river, ending at the * Hermitage 
Staith,' shows the locality of some retreat of which 
we have now no record. 

Below Acle the characteristics of the * Broad ' 
scenery gradually vanish. One no longer sees the 
broad green leaves of the water-lilies flapping up 
from the water as the wind catches them, looking for 
all the world like a duck getting up. The bog-beans 
float more rarely on the top of the water, and even 
the tall, red-brown * reeds,' and the lighter-coloured 
* chate,' or flowering grass, begin to disappear. The 
villages are quaint, clustering close to the water's 
edge ; but the scenery gets barer and barer, and we 
soon become disagreeably aware of mud-banks, of 
unsightly flint walls, and dilapidated drainage-mills, 
till at last we see Yarmouth steeple in the distance. 
We shall see it appear and disappear plenty of times, 
for the river winds in and out like an eel for the last 
few miles, till we risk the terrible perils of the suspen- 
sion bridge, and moor against the staith of the 
Bowling Green, just opposite the mouth of Breydon 
Water. For some time past, of course, we have 
been in salt water, and any night one may see the 
phosphorescence which some say comes from the 
animalculas, but which, ever after I passed one av/ful 
night here, moored by mistake between the outfall of 
a sewer and a cargo-load of putrid herring-guts on 
the other, I believe arises from other causes. 

2/0 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

Without any exception, Yarmouth is the beastliest 
hole any boating-man can have to stay at. The 
Bowling Green is the best mooring-place, but bad is 
the best, and if by luck one can, in coming from the 
Norwich river to the North river, or vic& versa, catch 
the tide across Breydon, one should certainly do so, 
and not wait a night here. If this cannot be done, 
it will be as well to make a virtue of necessity and 
stroll over the town, and revictual, if one wants to 
do so, in the splendid market — one of the best in 
England. In this case, the first thing to do, 
whether one lands by the limekilns or at the Bowl- 
ing Green, is to keep along the side of the river — 
noticing the old tower hard by the water-side, which 
ended the city wall — till one reaches the wide open 
space fronting the swing bridge. This is generally 
called the Hall Quay from the town-hall, which 
stands facing us at its end. The present town-hall 
is a fine big place, and stands on the site of an older 
one, built in 1715, which had a curious portico, sup- 
ported by Tuscan pillars. 

The celebrated Yarmouth Hutch — which con- 
tained the equally well-known Hutch map, showing 
the country as it was before the river contracted — is 
a fine specimen of old work, with massive locks and 
bars. Before we come to it, however, we should 
look at the interior of the Star Inn, a fine Eliza- 
bethan building, with fiint panelling outside and oak 
within, some of the carvings in the first-floor rooms 
being very good. Gurncy's Bank, near this, was 
once occupied by Mr. Dawson Turner, who is well- 

The Broads and Marshes. 271 

known for his large, if not very valuable, collections 
to illustrate our county history. His illustrated copy 
is now in the British Museum, but is not much con- 
sulted, for the original sketches are poor and usually 

If we turn to the right, we follow the river along 
the South Quay — a wide and pretty walk, nearly a 
mile long, shaded with lime-trees, and thronged with 
busy workers. It is a free quay, and from its banks 
the great herring-boats, with their massive timbers, 
can be seen to advantage. 

To our left is a particularly fine Elizabethan 
house, formerly belonging to C. J. Palmer, a wealthy 
and able local antiquary, who, besides other good 
work, published a very elaborate set of working-draw- 
ings of the beautiful ceilings, panelling, and other 
details of his house. The story that the execution of 
Charles I. was determined at a secret meeting of the 
Roundhead leaders in this house is unsupported by 
any evidence whatever, and the probabilities are 
greatly against the story. The story most likely 
arose from the fact that the house once belonged to 
a son-in-law of Ireton's. 

If we keep on along the quay, we shall notice 
many fine old houses, once the habitations of great 
merchants who were not ashamed of living over 
their counting-houses, and who by so doing were 
able to afford to put up buildings which shame our 
degenerate villas. Most of them, however, are in a 
sad state of decay, and the walk is rather a dreary 
one till we get into the opener country past the 

272 A Poptilar History of Norfolk. 

barrack and the South Star battery to Nelson's 
monument, which stands near the racecourse. It 
was built in 1817, and is a finer column than most 
monumental columns are, and carries a figure of 
Britannia looking out proudly over the seas our local 
hero guarded so well. Nelson landed here after two 
of his more important victories, hence the choice of 
this spot. 

Walking round the racecourse, which in due 
season provides the usual excitement for fools who 
incorrectly fancy they ' know something,' and the 
usual emolument for betting-men and others who 
have a sounder and better-grounded knowledge of 
the value of such information, we come to the end of 
the long spit of land on which Yarmouth stands. 
Opposite us is Gorleston pier, and a fine sight it is on 
a windy day to see the various fishing and trading 
craft trying to round its stubborn-looking head, and 
escape from the roaring water of the ' Road ' out- 

When we have repassed the racecourse on its other 
side, and walked past the barracks, we reach the 
modern quay, the sea-front of Yarmouth, a very fine 
and wide promenade indeed, with grand sands, and 
many e.xcellent houses facing them. To see it aright, 
one should do so about 4.30 a.m. on a fine summer 
morning. Later than this the throngs of cockneys 
will begin to emerge from the numerous small lodg- 
ing-houses, and render the place unsavoury. 

Yarmouth is nothing more or less than a big Mar- 
gate, and is rapidly becoming the Londoner's para- 

The Broads and Marshes. 273 

dise. Here he will find everything his soul loveth. 
Shrimps and public-houses everywhere, comic songs 
and horse-play all day long, and in the season a beach 
simply packed with a noisy crowd — good-humoured 
enough, I will admit, but having remarkably little 
appreciation of the sea or scenery. The steamers 
from London bring down shoals of them, on whom 
the voyage, if rough, operates like the physic which 
used to begin a prize-fighter's training, and leaves 
them fresh to begin their week's pleasure with clear 
consciences and empty stomachs. 

Once at Yarmouth they stop there, as close to the 
beach as they can ; and I don't think I have seen 
half-a-dozen excursionists exploring the country more 
inland than half-a-dozen miles. 

To the passing visitors like ourselves there are 
several objects of interest which must not be missed, 
and especiallythe great church andthetoll-house. The 
latter will be the best to see first, as we shall find it 
at the end of Row No. 108. 

It is a most interesting thirteenth-century building, 
partly used for municipal purposes and partly as a 
prison. The outside door is very curious, and so 
is the outside staircase leading to a sort of open 
balcony, lit by a two-light Early English window. 
Within, the rooms are quaint in the extreme, but 
the cells and stone-yard, which until quite recently 
were used not only for criminals but for prisoners for 
debt, are some of the vilest holes in which human 
beings were ever left to rot. 

Passing through the market-place, which is one of 


2/4 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

the finest in England, and is always (and especially 
on market-days — Wednesday and Saturday) very 
well stocked with flesh and fruit, fish and flowers, we 
see the largest parish church in England in front of 
us, standing up over a pretty lime avenue. Indeed, 
Yarmouth church is larger in area than many of 
our English cathedrals, as may be guessed from its 
length being 230 feet, its nave alone being So feet. 
It was built by Herbert de Lozinga, Bishop of Nor- 
wich, just after he had founded his cathedral. Un- 
luckily but little of the Norman work is left, for the 
church was practically re-built and re-consecrated 
in 1286. It had no less than nineteen chapels, and 
it was proposed before 1348 to increase its already 
enormous proportions by adding a * Bachelor's Aisle,' 
which was to have been 107 feet by 47, and a door- 
way 40 feet wdde ! Owing to a pestilence, however, 
this building got little farther than its foundation, 
and was abandoned. Within the church the great 
organ — with its 49 stops, 7 couplers and 3,188 sound- 
ing pipes — the Crowmer and Fastolf monuments, 
and the old library, all attract and deserve attention. 
Leaving Yarmouth, after getting a last glimpse of 
the flint front of the Star, and of the local walking- 
stick-carrying policemen (a species as curious as their 
grey-trousered confreres at Brighton), we will cast off 
from the Bowling Green, and not forgetting a big 
jar of pure water from its hospitable pump, and 
some fresh food and vegetables from the market-place, 
sail, if the tide serves, over Breydon Water, a wide, 
muddy, salt-water lake, formed by the junction of 

The Broads and Marshes. 275 

the mouths of the Yare, which runs down from Nor- 
wich, and the Waveney, which comes from Thet- 
ford, Bungay, and Beccles. The channel is marked 
out by white posts, and must be very carefully kept, 
for though in years gone by a boat could be sailed on 
its north side almost as far as where we see the train 
puffing leisurely along its embankment, woe is now 
to the yacht or wherry that goes much outside the 
posts at low water, for on to the ' putty ' she will go 
gently but firmly, and there stay till the next tide 
floats her, or the local pirates have got her off nolens 
volens the owner, and extracted what they can from him. 
Breydon, for those who care for a real bit of sail- 
ing, and don't mind a breeze and some choppy water 
at times, is a real paradise ; and, let favourable cir- 
cumstances arise, it is pretty to see boats of all sorts 
coming out from the town ' by one, by two, by three,' 
of all sorts and rigs, and availing themselves of the 
chance. Given a hard winter, again, and Breydon 
becomes the happy hunting-ground of all the gun- 
owners of the district, for, from its position and the 
feeding-ground its long mud-banks afford, it is as good 
a non-preserved place for fowl as can be found. It is 
also a special locality for those who take a pleasure 
in exterminating the rarer sorts of water-birds. 
Luckily, however, the professional shooters, whom you 
will see stealing along in their slate-coloured punts, 
look with no great favour on amateur gunners; and I 
have known them shoot off their big guns at nothing 
in particular, just to alarm the ducks rather than let 
the visitors have a chance. 


276 A Pop2ilar History of Norfolk. 

To the left, just as we get out of Breydon we see the 
grey walls of Burgh Castle, which, though not in our 
county, must not be passed by. It was built a.d. 46, 
no doubt to command one mouth of Breydon (which 
must then have been much longer and wider), while 
Caister by Yarmouth dominated the other. Which 
of the two was ' Garianonum,' let Spelman and 
Camden fight about : enough for us that the Roman 
station is perhaps as perfect in parts as any other in 
England ; and though it will not compare for size 
with Caister by Norwich, its walls are fourteen feet 
high and nine feet thick, and enclose five acres of 
ground. The view from it is strange and lonely as 
one looks down over the wide stretch of water and 
low-lying land, with the sluggish river winding 
below. Keeping up the Waveney, or more techni- 
cally the ' Beccles River,' we pass by St. Olave's, 
and under its bridge, and are reminded of the tale of 
the Danish saint, Olaf. Inland to our east, and in 
Suffolk, is the celebrated Fritton Decoy, so noted for 
its wild-duck and its fish. 

Of the parson here it is said that being a Norfolk 
man, and moved here, he replied to the bishop when 
asked how he was, that he was as well as a Norfolk 
man ' suffocated '* could be. He too it was who, 
when a too-long-staying visitor unwarily commented 
at dinner on the great convenience of the adjoining 
railway stations to people who wanted to come to 
Fritton, replied sententiousl}', ' Ah, and it's perfectly 
marvellous how useful they are to go away by !' 

• ' SuITolk-hated ' (please laugh). 

The Broads and Marshes. 277 

Another railway bridge is at Somerle3'ton, an estate 
bought by Peto, the contractor — (the * Bardolph and 
Peto' of his neighbour Borrow's biting joke) of 
'S.G.O.' — and then just before we get to Oulton we 
can turn up to the left and get on to the only Suffolk 
* Broad ' — Oulton, otherwise Mutford, and otherwise 
more euphoniously ' Lake Lothing,' a great rendezvous 
for yachts, for it is only two miles or so from Lowestoft, 
a nice place for those who like it, and anyhow a con- 
venient marketing-place. The ' Broad ' itself is 
always picturesque with the white sails of yachts, 
and on its north bank is the house where George 
Borrow wrote most of his books. It is a pretty 
place, backed up with a pine plantation, and his 
readers will well remember his masterly bit of word- 
painting about it, and his old mother, and his good 

At the ' Lady of the Lake ' (Kemps), a comfortable 
little inn, is a vine planted outside the house and 
brought in through the wall into the kitchen, the 
windows of which it covers, as it used to cover the 
ceiling — a veritable horticultural curiosity. Turning 
back into the Waveney and going up-stream, if the 
sluggish flow is worth such a name, we see on the 
Norfolk side the very strangely shaped four-storied 
tower of Wheatacre Burgh, or Burgh St. Peter, 
which serves as a landmark for miles. The church is 
well worth a visit, lor not only does one get a fine view 
all over the marshes — which, strangely enough, seem 
lower inland than near the river, as though the river 
was flowing between artificially raised banks — but 

278 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

the interior of the building deserves inspection. 
The font is a very handsome octagonal one with 
a shafted base ; the roof is luckily untouched, 
and so is the rood-staircase, and a very fine piscina, 
and equally good sedilia. It is, however, the 
tower which is the peculiar feature of the church, 
for it batters four times, the lowest course being 
partly flint and stone panelling in lozenge- 
shaped panels, the next two modern brick, and 
the fourth partly old stone. Roman remains 
have been found here, and it has been conjectured 
that the ' Burgh ' points to a Roman station. In 
the low-lying ground behind — about four miles off — 
are what ruins are left of Aldeby Priory, but it is 
not worth while going either to see them, or the 
birth-place of Tawell, the Quaker murderer, and 
the first victim of the electric telegraph. 

A few miles on and we reach Beccles, a very 
pretty and quaint Suffolk town, huddled up on a high 
bank above the river. Here we may well turn back, 
for the sailing above is not so good, but not before 
admiring the fine detached clocher of Beccles church, 
w'hich I take to have been built by the same architect 
as that of Cromer and Happisburgh churches, for the 
very unusual flowing ornament on the second base 
course running round the tower is identical with that 
at Happisburgh, and the still more unusual hollow 
canopy-work in the buttresses I have seen nowhere 
else than at Cromer. The visitor should also try to 
see the inside of Ros(e) Hall, a beautifully oak- 
panelled Elizabethan house, occupied by Mr. Robin- 

The Broads and Marshes. 279 

son, the well-known athlete and ex-champion pole- 
jumper, which is past the Fauconberge Grammar 
School. In the street that runs parallel to the river 
there are some charming and well-preserved ' Queen 
Anne ' houses, and, indeed, I do not know a more 
sleepy, middle-aged, pleasant town in which to waste 
a summer's day than Beccles. 

Turning down stream again, we sail back to St. 
Olave's, and turn up the ' New Cut,' which joins the 
Waveney and the Bure, and substitutes a two or 
three mile straight canal for a thirteen mile dctonr 
round by Burgh Castle. Very nice sailing this cut 
is if the wind suits you, and very nice healthy exer- 
cise by the way of towing it gives you if it doesn't. 
It comes out at Reedham, a Httle village on a bank, 
with a great history ; for it was here that Lodbrok, 
the Dane, is said to have been inhospitably treated 
when he was blown across from Denmark in an open 
boat, with hawk and hound, and was murdered by a 
huntsman of King Edmund. His sons, Hingar and 
Hubba, are said to have come over to avenge him, 
and to have in return converted King Edmund into 
a martyr, the story whereof is to be seen on so many 
East Anglian rood-screens, and therefore must be 
true. The church lies high above the river and is 
full of interest, so one must go to it. 

From the httle hill or big mound on which it 
stands we get a wonderful view over the marshes, 
where the long straight cut and the winding river 
contrast strangely. Under us, if tradition is truth, 
is a subterranean passage leading to the hall, which 

2 So A Poptilav History of Norfolk. 

may be the remains of some Roman work, for 
Roman coins have been found here, and there is 
some Roman brick built into the chancel. The 
churchyard is very picturesque, being well sheltered 
on one side by a close growth of trees which show 
out very markedly in so treeless a country. It is in- 
deed a little oasis in the wilderness, for the parson is 
clearly a man of taste as well as a good gardener, 
having succeeded in getting great tea-roses — 
Mar^chal Niel, Gloires, and others — to grow against 
his church, in spite of the bleak open situation. On the 
other hand, an ordinary necessarium has been erected 
against the church — an instance of profanation it 
would be difficult to match. Though the nave is only 
thatched the tower is a very fine one, and as perfect 
as the day it was put up. It is early Perpendicular, 
with flint and stone work best of the way up, and 
has a fine exterior stair-turret. The Berney chapel 
is very interesting, especially for a fine Elizabethan 
monument to Henry Berney, Esq., who died 15S4, 
of the usual type, husband and boys kneeling on one 
side, and wife and girls on the other. It is of the 
Berney family (who were afterwards baronets) that the 
rustics used to say that they had to bear the bloody 
hand on their arms because one of them * whipped a 
boy to dead.' There is also a nice brass of a lady 
with a butterfly headdress. The whole church has 
been carefully and conscientiously * restored,' and 
not ' destroyed,' and is left open at all times. It is 
pleasant to note this, and to be able to record the 
results of the cultivated taste of a stranger, for I do 
not even know the rector's name. 

The Broads and Marshes. 281 

Coming down again into the quaint little village, 
we see that it is built on two or three terraces or 
ridges of the detached hill by the river, a hill low in 
itself, but very noticeable among the marshes. It is 
inhabited mostly by shipwrights and fishermen, who 
live alongside the low staith, which is hardly raised 
above the river. There are a few small shops, and 
occasionally butcher's meat may be bought ; but, as 
in most other remote parts of Norfolk, butchers 
meat forms but a very small portion of the dietary of 
the lower classes. 

It was while loafing about at Reedham that I 
noted down from the mouth of a friendly wherryman 
the following absolutely unique and hitherto entirely 
unpublished list of the forty-eight reaches (' raches ' 
he called them) between Breydon and Norwich, 
which I subjoin for the benefit of posterity : 

1. Borrow [Burgh] 16. Darty Hole Rache. 

Flats. 17. Devil's House Rrxhe. 

2. Barney Arms. 18. Limpenhoe Rache. 

3. Fi' Mir House. ig, Cantley Red House. 

4. Tilekil' Rache. 20. Cantley Rache. 

5. Six Mil' Rond. 21. Under Langley. 

6. Six Mil' House. 22. Langley Uppershot 

7. Seven Mil' House. Rache. 

8. Bowlin' Alley. 23. Langley Lowershot 
g. Eyht Mil' Trees. Rache. 

10. Reedham Town. 24. Hassingham Deke. 

11. Taylor's Rache. 25. Buckenham Rache. 

12. Reedham Ferry 26. Buckenham Ferry. 

Rache. 27. Buckenham Horse- 

13. Hardley Cross. shoes. 

14. Cross Rache. 28. Ashentree Rache. 

15. Little Head. 2g. Rockland Rache. 

282 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

30. Rockland Dig 40. Underbills, or Jimmy 

[Dyke ?] . Norton's Rache. 

31. Trane. 41. Bramerton's Woods 

32. Coldham Hall. End. 

33. BrundallShortRache. 42. Posick [Poswick] 

34. Brundall LongRache. Rache. 

35. Ditches Deke. 43. Posick Grove. 

36. Grace House [i.e. 44. Thorpe Short Rache. 

Cart-grease Manu- 45. Whittinghani Rache. 

factory] . 46. Cave Rache. 

37. Surlingham Ferry. 47. Thorpe. 

38. Horse Shoe Rache. 48. Cut. 

39. Six Mir Staith Rache. 

I don't suppose my particular wherryman's memory 
was faultless, so submit this list as a draft to be cor- 
rected. Wonderfully nice fellows many of these 
wherrymen are, and I hope their business will never 
be superseded by steam, for the big brown or black 
sails leaning stately and steadily over up and down 
the river are strangely picturesque. 

Steam on these placid waters seems sadly out of 
place ; most of the steam launches are noisy puffing 
abominations, and of the two pleasure -steamers, 
though one, the Jenny Lind, is respectably quiet, the 
Jumbo has made its bad name known to everyone 
who knows the Yare. A great big brutal paddle- 
boat, which keeps on a steady Juggernaut-like pro- 
gress, wholly regardless of sailing-boats or fishing- 
punts, swamping the first and spoiling the sport of 
the occupiers of the second, while its wash tears 
away great pieces of the *rond,' is a public nuisance, 
and ought to have been indicted as such long ago. 
A duck-gun full of grey peas let go at the steersman 

The Broads and Marshes. 283 

at a safe distance would have done much good ; but 
we have a Httle chance of peace and rest now, for 
she has recently swamped an influential solicitor and 
his family. Boats which ply to a cathedral city 
should avoid swamping solicitors who live in its close, 
and I shall be very much surprised and disappointed 
if the ugly nuisance is allowed up the Yare next 

These, however, are very wide digressions, and we 
will go on up tne river. The little river — brook, we 
should call it elsewhere — is the Chet (pronounced 
soft), which is sometimes navigable up to Loddon, 
but you must have a fair wind to get up it, for it is 
little better than a dyke — and, after all, I never knew 
of anyone who ever wanted to go to Loddon, so it 
does not matter. 

The single-shafted stone cross on our left is 
Hardley Cross, the boundary of the jurisdiction of 
the city of Norwich. Here, yearly, the officials of 
the corporation make their solemn proclamation : 
* If there be any manner of person who will absume, 
purfy, implead, or present any action,' etc. They 
do not know (nor do I) what * absume ' and * purfy ' 
mean, but that is immaterial. Once the town clerk 
was asked what he would do if anyone came forward 
and said he wanted to absume and purfy. * Tell him 
to go and do it at once,' was the official's safe reply. 

Buckenham Ferry is simply a riverside public- 
house, and when we get by it we come to the open- 
ings of two little broads — Rockland on the left and 
Strumpshaw on the right. The latter is nearly 

2 84 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

)[;;rown over, and it is hard to shove one's way in the 
'jolly' up the very narrow reed-overhung channel 
still left. After a mile or two's hard work, however, 
you break into an acre or so of, perhaps, as secluded 
and lonely water as there is still left in England, and 
lovely in an inverse proportion to its size. 

Still farther down the river is Coldham Hall — the 
riparian population living in two or three cottages, 
and a small, red-brick public-house, famous for Nor- 
wich bean-feasts and fishing competitions. There are 
plenty of fish here for those who know how to catch 
them. Last time we put up here there were two 
men pulling them out at about six a minute (they 
caught one hundred and twenty !), and my wife and 
the skipper meanly went and moored alongside them, 
hoping to share their luck, and were rewarded, for 
three hours' labour, with ihvcc ! Of course the suc- 
cessful fishers had baited heavily. There is a good 
boat-builder's yard here, and if the sailor has come 
to grief, or wants to build or convert a boat, he 
might do worse than give Gibbs a turn. 

A little farther down to the left is the entrance to 
Surlingham Broad, the nearest broad to Norwich. 
It is not a large one, but it is very pretty, and has 
plenty of watery lanes and avenues, bowered over 
with reeds and flowers of all sorts, and, except when 
there is a bean-feast on, is as quiet and pleasant as 
any of the more secluded broads. 

Straight in front of us, as we go on farther still, we 
see Brundall Hall — a line, big white house, looking 
out 01 a grove of trees right down the river towards 

The Broads and Marshes. 285 

Yarmouth, and on about as fine a site for a house as 
any in the country. Brundall itself is a Httle place 
on a green hill, sloping down to the river, with the 
railway running at its foot. 

Bramerton Wood End is the white, farmhouse-like 
building on the left, with a high bank behind it; while 
on the opposite side, to the right, is Postwick Grove, a 
pretty wooded hill with some old trees. The ruined 
church on the top of the hill to the left is Whitling- 
ham, and very picturesquely it stands. 

Soon after the banks lower, and by Crown Point 
it is low and marshy — a strange site for the Bishop's 
country house, the ruins of which peep through the 
trees. The village to the right is Thorpe — the Rich- 
mond of Norwich — which is extremely well situate on 
the water's edge. Up on high, on the hill behind, is 
a big tower, with a wart -like little turret growing out 
of it. This, down south, we should call ' Taylor's 
Folly,' but for all that it commands the best view in 
Norwich — bar that from the cathedral. We do not, 
however, wind round by it, for the railway cut keeps 
straight to the left, and soon lands us first to the rail- 
way, and then to Carrow Bridge. No traces of the 
once famous Abbey of Carrow are visible from the 
river, though there are some still existent on the high 
ground. The round flint tower up the hill to the 
left is the ' Snuff Tower,' while that on the bank to 
our right is the * Boom Tower,' and both no doubt 
form part of the patriotic work undertaken for his 
city by that good burgess, Richard Spynk, in 1342. 
Colman's mustard-works occupy hundreds of yards 

2S6 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

of the bank before we get to Carrow Bridge, and 
form a small town by themselves; but the other 
waterside manufactories are, with one exception, of 
no importance, and nothing need be noticed but the 
picturesque backs of the old buildings in King's 
Street, till we get in sight of the new ' Foundry 
Bridge,' and end our water-trip literally at the gates 
of the Thorpe station of the G. E. R. 



HE earlier traditions and semi-political 

prophecies, treated at length in vol. i., 

pp. 209 et scq., of the * N. and N. A. S. 

Trans.,' and by myself at pp. 18, ig of my 

* Tourist's Guide ' to the county, are now almost 

wholly lost and forgotten. People still mysteriously 

hint, as I have already said, that 

* He who would Old England win, 
Must at Weybourne Hoop begin ;' 

but all the old tales, how a traitorous mayor shall let 
a French king in there ; how the Danish duke with 
sixteen great lords shall land at * Weybourne Stone,* 
and fight a disastrous battle there, and how the miller 
with three thumbs shall hold three kings' horses on 
the Rackheath Road, during the progress of a terrible 
fight, which shall kill off nearly every man in the 
county — are now clean forgotten. Most of our pro- 
phesying is done out of penny almanacs, and our 
best-known local herbalist and simple-culler (that I 

2SS A Popular History of Norfolk. 

should live to write it !) gets his stock-in-trade from 
Covent Garden by rail ! We have * cunning men ' 
still, but they are not powers in the land like * Allen 
the Prophesyer ' was in 1551, of whom Underbill, in 
his * Autobiography,'* says that * this Alen was called 
the God of Northfolke before they received the light of 
the Gospel.' The present cunning man is literally 
what his name implies — a man more able and cun- 
ning than his neighbours, and who adds to his 
income by imposing on them. He should be careful, 
however, if he wants to sustain his reputation, to 
have 'no visible means of subsistence,' or his charac- 
ter will suffer. Not long ago a small farmer near 
Dereham, being perturbed in his mind about a bad 
arm and some pigs, both of which he considered 
'overlooked,' had himself driven over to the house of 
the cunning man whom he wished to consult. On 
asking for the wizard, the latter's wife replied that 
he was ' troshing ' (threshing) in the barn, upon 
which the client promptly told his driver to turn the 
mare's head round, for he could be no cunning man 
if he did hard work. 

Of ' carriage-and-foyr ghosts ' we have specimens 
at Caistor, Pulham Market, Great Melton, and 
Blickling. The latter is the best story, for there are 
duplicate carriages, in one of which Anne Boleyn is 
driven, headless, down the avenue; while in the other 
her father. Sir Thomas, has to cross forty county 
bridges, pursued by all the fiends of hell for his share 
in his daughter's death. The ghastly story of the 
* Cam. Soc, p. 330. 

Superstitions, Folk-Lo7'e^ and Dialect. 289 

self-moving coffins is about Blickling, too ; while not 
far off Lady Dorothy Walpole, the * Grey Lady,' 
walks systematically at Rainham. She is described 
as a young and interesting woman who was forced, 
against her will, to marry Lord Townsend, in 1713, 
and I was told by a kinsman of hers how he saw 
the apparition. The * lie with circumstance ' was 
related, one windy and wet night, at the now 
closej ' Chequers,' at Brandon, with such detail and 
so many solemn asseverations, that I hardly dared 
sneak off to bed. Subsequent researches, which con- 
vinced me that so far from the lady dying of a broken 
heart, she lived long and ended a very prosaic life 
very quietly, have led me to disbelieve the whole 
story. Indeed, if we believe her other kinsman the 
gossip and the * Wentworth Papers,' she was very 
^ittle, if at all, better than she ought to have been. 
Of course, the recent appearance of a tall, priest- 
like figure to a well-known antiquary, while dozing 
over his books at Mannington Hall, is well known 
to Norfolk men. 

How an escaped female lunatic, in white, ran bare- 
footed and silent, but for her shrieks, alongside the 
gig of a hard-headed auctioneer, and temporarily 
converted him to a full belief in the uncanny world, 
is a well-known North-Norfolk joke, as also is the 
trick played with a black ram and a chain, which was 
turned out to meet some farmers, so as to represent 
the 'Shuck Dog,' the great, black, fiendish animal 
that patrols the northern coasts nightly, and which 
brings death within the year to anyone who meets it. 


290 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

The fishermen, particularly, are very superstitious, 
and don't care to be out of doors after dark, on the 
land. Their prayer is curious* : 

* Pray God lead us, 
Pray God speed us, 
From all evil defend us. 
Fish for our pains God send us ; 
Well to fish and well to haul, 
And what He pleases to pay us all. 
A fine night to land our nets. 
And safe in with the land — 
Pray God, hear my prayer.' 

The only appearance, if it can be called so, which 
puzzles me, is a * light ' which has been showing 
lately at Runton, near Cromer. It is said to issue 
from a hedgerow, cross a field, and disappear in a fir- 
spinney. Many credible people have seen it, and a 
superstitious glamour is cast over the matter by a 
statement that it goes into the ground just where 
some human bones were once found. I believe my- 
self that it may be the reflection of Cromer revolving 
light, cast on a bank of fog or vapour, which may 
appear under certain atmospheric conditions. But 
this theory, and that of " Will-o'-the-wisps," is 
scouted, because the ground is high and dry, and 
well drained. 

Another inexplicable story is that told both of 
Rainthorpe and Ashwcllthorpe Halls — how a stranger 
came into the hall in bygone times and planted an 
acorn, which grew into an oak of large size then and 
there, and 

♦ E.C.C., p. 274. 

Siiperstitions, Folk- Lore, and Dialect, 291 

* Tew gostlings, young and green, 
Then there came " whewting " in,' 

and carried away the oak out of the hall. 

Of ' Men of Gotham ' stories, I think the most 
amusing is that about the * Holt knowing ones,' who 
being annoyed by the hooting of an owl, caught it and 
put it up a waterspout in the church tower, in the 
full assurance that it would be drowned the next 
rainfall, and who were extremely disappointed to see 
it emerge at the other end and fly away. 

I have collected from all sources open to me the 
following epitome of the Folk-lore of Norfolk, which 
may be divided as follows : 

Death, and Omens of Death. 
i„ The limp corpse foretells, or is a warning of, 
another death.— Ft^e Henry Daveney in Notes 
and Queries, ist Ser., vol. x., p. 156 ; and Rev. A. 
Sutton, Rector of West Tofts, ibid., p. 88. 
Compare Grose's 'Superstition,' p. 48. This 
seems common in Durham and elsewhere in 
England. — Notes and Queries, ist Ser., vol. x., 

P- 253. 

2. If you bring yew into the house at Christmas 

amongst the other evergreens, you will have a 
death in the family before the end of the year. 
— Forby, p. 413. 

3. If a branch of may, or whitethorn, is brought into 

the house, it brings with it misfortune and 
death.— iVo/^s and Queries, ^ih Ser., vol. i.,p. 550. 

ig — 2 

292 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

4. If you overturn a loaf of bread in the oven you 

will have a death in the house. — Forby, p. 414. 

5. A failure of ash-keys portends a death in the royal 

family. — Forby, p. 406. 

6. If you watch in the church porch on St. Mark's 

night (25th April) you will see the apparitions 
of those who will die or have any dangerous 
illness during the following year. — Forby, p. 407; 
and vide * Norf. Arch. Original Papers,' vol. ii., 
p. 295. 

7. To hear the cuckoo's first note when in bed, 

betokens illness or death to the hearer or one of 
his family. If a cuckoo light on touchwood or 
on a rotten bough and cuckoos, betokens death. 
— 'Norf. Arch. Orig. Pap.,' vol. ii., p. 301. 

To Courtship and Marriage, etc. 

1. A clover of two if you put in your shoe. 
The next man you meet in field or lane 
Will be your husband or one of the name. 

G. A. Carthew, in Notes and Queries, 
ist Ser., vol. vi., p. 601. 

2. Bishop, bishop, Barnabee,* 
Tell me when my wedding be ! 
If it be to-morrow day. 

Take your wings and fly away. 

® Otherwise 'Bishee, bishee, Bamabee,' etc. (F. C. Husen- 
beth in same vol. of A'o/es auJ Quc-r/fs, p. 286), and * Busk) e, 
busk ye, Byrnie Bee,' etc. (E. S. Taylor, E. A., p. 301). 

Stipcrstitions, Fo Ik-Lore, and Dialed. 293 

Fly to the East, fly to the West, 
And fly to him that I love best. 

Notes and Queries., 2nd Sen, 
vol. vii., p. 19S. 

A humble bee flying in at the window betokens a 
stranger coming. If it has a red tail, a man ; if 
a white, a woman. — Notes and Queries, 4th Ser., 
vol. ii., p. 221. 

A long stalk in the tea-cup betokens a tall, a 
short one a little, stranger. — Ihid. 

If one blows at the tuft on a seeding dandelion, 
you can tell how many years it will be before 
you are married by the number of puffs you 
take to blow all the seeds away. — Forby, p. 424. 

If you take a leaf of the yarrow plant and tickle 
the inside of your nose, saying — 

Yarroway, yarroway, bear a white blow. 
If my love loves me my nose will bleed now. 

And if your nose does bleed, your lover does love 
you. — Ibid. 

If a young woman on St. Mark's Eve goes out 
alone into the garden at midnight and sows 
some hempseed, saying at the same time — 

Hemp-seed I sow — hemp-seed grow. 
He that is my true love 
Come after me and mow — 

the figure of the future husband will appear 
with a scythe and in the act of mowing. — Forby, 
p. 408. 

294 -^ Popular History of Norfolk. 

8. If a young woman on St. Mark's Eve, while quite 
alone, bakes the 'dumb cake,' made of an eggful 
each of salt, wheat-meal, and barley-meal, before 
the fire, a little before midnight, and fasts and 
holds her tongue during the operation, the sweet- 
heart will come in exactly at midnight and 
turn the cake. The door must be left open. — 
Forby, p. 408. 

g. When an old maid dies the steeple nods. — Notes 
and Queries, 2nd Ser., vol. iii., p. igg. 

The spire of Great Yarmouth is said to have got 
crooked through a virgin having once been married 
in the church. 

10. They that wive 

Between sickle and scythe 
Shall never thrive. 

' Norf. Arch. Trans.,' vol. ii., p. 203. 

This probably relates to its being unlucky to waste 
any time during the harvest. 

To Certain Days in the Year. 

I. Candlemas Day: 

(rt) On Candlemas Day, if the sun shines clear. 
The shepherd had rather see his wife on 
her bier. 

E. S. Taylor, in Notes and Queries, ist 
Scr.,vol.xi.,p.23g. Also see 'Norf. 
Arch. Trans.,' vol. ii., p. 2g4. 

This is an allusion to the mortality among the 

Siiperstitions, Folk-Lore, and Dialect. 295 

ewes and lambs during the consequent bad weather. 
It seems a modern version of the old Latin proverb : 

' Si sol splendescat, maria purificante 
Major erit glacies post quam fuit ante.' 

See also F. C. Husenbeth in iVo^^s and Queries^ 
1st Ser.,vol. xi., page 335, and distich in the 'Nor- 
wich Domesday ' on St. Swithin's Day, quoted 
in Notes and Queries, 2nd Ser., vol. vii., p. 450. 

(6) As far as the sun shines in on Candlemas 
So far will the snow blow in before old May. 
Ibid., also ' Norf. Arch. Trans.,' 
vol. ii., p. 294. 

(c) The farmer should have on Candlemas Day 
Half his stover [turnips — new version] and 

half his hay. — Ibid. 

(d) At Candlemas cold come to us. — Ibid. 

(e) Candlemas Day the good huswife's geese lay, 
Valentine's Day yours and mine may. — Ibid. 

(J) You should on Candlemas Day 

Throw candle and candlestick away. 

Ibid., also see * Norf. Arch. Trans.,' 
vol. ii., p. 294. 

{g) When Candlemas Day is come and gone, 
The snow won't lie on a hot stone. — Ibid.* 

(Ji) All the Christmas evergreens must be re- 

* The sun by Candlemas Day has so much power that the 
snow won't stop long unthawed. 

296 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

moved on Candlemas Eve, or some mis- 
fortune will happen. — Forby, p. 415. 
2. St. Valentine's Day : 

(a) For an account of St. Valentine's Eve at 
Norwich, see Noics and Queries, ist Ser., 
vol. X., p. 5. For old custom of ' catching 
valentines," see Forby, p. 423. 
(6) At Ryburgh, on St. Valentine's Day, the 
children go round the village for contribu- 
tions, singing — 

God bless the baker ! 
If you will be the giver 
I will be the taker. 

Notes and Queries, 4th Ser., vol. v., 
P- 595- 
(c) On St. Valentine 

All the birds in the air in couples do join [jine]. 
— Forby, p. 418. 

3 St. Mathias's Day (24th Feb.). 

(rt) This is the farmer's day. — * Norf. Arch.Trans.,' 

vol. ii., p. 295. 
(6) If the bushes hang of a drop before sunrise, 
it will be a dropping season ; if the bushes 
be dry, we may look for a dry summer. — Ibid. 
(c) St. Matthew get candlesticks new 

St. Matthi lay candles by. — Forby, p. 418. 
4. St. Mark's Eve : 

{a) The brakes drop their seed at midnight. 
The top rolls up quite close and the seed 
falls.— /61W. 

Superstitions, Folk- Lore, and Dialect. 297 

(6) The appearances of all who are to die or be 
married can be seen at midnight in the 
church porch. — Ihid. 

5. Ash Wednesday : 

Wherever the wind lies on Ash Wednesday 
it continues during the whole of Lent. — 
Forby, p. 414. 

6. Good Friday : 

{a) If work be done on Good Friday, it will 
be so unlucky that it will have to be done 
over again. — ' Norf. Arch. Trans.,' vol. ii., 
p. 296. 

(6) One must not wash on Good Friday. This 
is in the Bible. Christ once went on Good 
Friday for a walk, and asked a woman for 
a draught of water, and she gave him water 
with soapsuds in it. Therefore, etc. — [Told 
me on Good Friday, 1874, by my servant, 
Susan Abbs, from Runton.] 

(c) Cake baked on Good Friday never gets 
mouldy. It is good for diarrhoea. The 
same is said of Good Friday bread. — 
Forby, p. 402. 

7. Easter: 

Baked custards should be eaten at Easter 
and cheesecakes at Whitsuntide. — Notes 
and Queries, 3rd Ser., vol. i., p. 248. A 
tansey pudding on Easter Sunday. — Forby, 
p. 422. 

29S A Popular History of Norfolk. 

8. Midsummer Day : 

Cut your thistles before St. John, 
You will have two instead of one. 

Forby, p. 418. 

9. Holyrood Day: 

On Holyrood Day the Devil goes a-nutting. — 
Forby, p. 418. 

10. Michaelmas Day : 

If you do not baste the goose on Michaelmas 
Day, you will want money all the year. — 
Forby, p. 414. 

11. St. Andrew's Day: 
St. Andrew the king 

Three days and three weeks before Christmas 
comes in. 

Forby, p. 418. 

12. Christmas:* 

(a) At Christmas Eve, at midnight, animals 
rise and turn to the east. The horse will 
stay some time on his knees, and move his 
head about and blow over the manger. — 
' Norf. Arch. Trans.,' vol. ii., p. 296. 

(6) The rosemary blooms on Old Christmas 
Day.— /6zW. 

(c) If you bring yew into the house at Christmas 
with the other evergreens, there will be a 
death in the family before the end of the 
year. — Forby, p. 413. 

♦ For Christmas carols see Notes and Queries, 4th series, iii., 
p. 90 : * Oh ! here's to the one ho !' 

Superstitions y Fol/c-Loi'e, and Dialect. 299 

{d) At old Christmas the days are longer by a 
cock-crow. — Forby, p. 418. 

13. Childermas Day : 

On whatever day of the week the 28th of Decem- 
ber falls, that day is an unlucky day for the 
ensuing year. — Forby, p. 405. 

To THE Weather, etc. 

1. First comes David and then comes Chad, 

And thencomesWinneral[St.Winnold] as though 

he was mad ; 
White or black or old house-thack [thatch]. 

Notes and Queries, ist Ser., vol. i., p. 349. 

2. If the ash is out before the oak it foretells rain. — 

Notes and Queries, 2nd Ser., vol. x., p. 256. 

3. The grass that grows in Janiveer 
Grows no more all the year. 

Forby, p. 418. 

4. Night rains make drowned fens. — Notes and 

Queries, ist Ser., vol. vi., p. 601. 

5. Ne'er cast a clout till May be out. — Notes and 

Queries, ist Ser., vol. vi., p. 601. 

6. A wet Sunday a wet week. — Forby, p. 416. 

7. Saturday's change and Sunday's full 
Never brought good and never wuU. 

F. C. Husenbeth, in Notes and Queries, 
2nd Ser., vol. ii., p. 316 ; and ' Norf. 
Arch. Trans.,' vol. ii., p. 297. 

300 A Popular History of Norfolk, 

Another version is in Forby, p. 417 : 

' On Saturday new or Sunday full 
Was never good and never vvull.' 

8. A Saturday's moon 

If it comes once in seven years comes too soon. 

Forby, p. 416. 

9. Another version is : 

On Saturday new and Sunday full 
Never brought good and never wall. 

Forby, p. 417. 

10. When the weirhng shrieks at night. 
Sow the seed with the morning light, 
But when the cuckoo swells its throat 
Harvest flies from the mooncall's throat. 

This is in Notes and Queries, ist Ser., p. 614, 
called the * Wilby Warning,' but from its phraseology 
I should say it was decidedly modern. 

11. When a sun dog (two black spots) comes on the 
south side of the sun there will be fine weather, 
when on the north side there will be foul. The 
sun then fares to be right muddled and crammed 
down by the dog. — ' Norf. Arch. Trans.,' vol. ii., 
p. 297. 

12. If you see the old moon with the new there will 
be stormy weather. — Ibid. (Vide Ballad of Sir 
Patrick Spens.) 

13. If it rains on a Sunday before the church doors 
are open, it will rain all the week more or less. 

Superstitions, Folk-Lore^ and Dialect. 30 1 

or else we shall have three rainy Sundays. — 
The old version used to be : 

If it rains on Sunday before mass, 
It rains all the week more or less. 

14. If it rains the first Thursday after the moon 
comes in, it will rain more or less all the while 
the moon lasts, especially on Thursdays. — Ihid. 

15. If there be bad weather, and the sun does not 
shine all the week, it is sure to show forth some 
time on the Saturday. — Ibid. 

16. If Noah's Ark show many days together there 
will be foul weather [I do not understand this] . 

17. On three nights in the year it never lightens 
(clears up) anywhere, and if a man knows these 
nights he would not turn a dog out. — Ihid. 

18. If the hen moult before the cock, we get a 

winter as hard as a rock ; 
If the cock moult before the hen, we get a 
winter like a spring. — Ihid. 

19. If the evening star rides low in the summer (i.e. 
with the leading star of the bear's tail above it) 
there will be a bad crop. — Ihid, 

20. If the cuckoo on the last week he goes keeps on 
the top branches of the oaks and makes a noise, 
it is a sign of a good harvest, etc.; but if he 
keeps on the lower branches it is a bad sign. — 
Ihid., p. 301. 

302 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

To Various Subjects. 

1. Them that ever mind the world to win, 

Must have a black cat, a howling dog, and a 
crowing hen. — Ihid., p. 302. 

2. Cutting your nails on Monday means health; 

Tuesday, wealth ; Wednesday, news ; Thursday, 
new shoes; Friday, sorrow; Saturday, seeing your 
sweetheart the next day ; Sunday, the devil. — 
Forby, p. 411. 

3. White spots on the naUs are lucky. 

4. It is dangerous to let blood in the dog-days. — 

Ihid., p. 413. 

5. It is very unlucky to burn green elder. — lhid.y-^.\i\. 
G. It is unlucky not to wear at least some new 

article of dress on Easter Sunday. — Ihid. 

7. It is unlucky to burn the withes or bands of 

faggots.— /6j^., p. 415. 

8. Dogs howling is a sign of ill-luck. 

9. It is unlucky to buy bees ; they should be obtained 

by barter. — Ihid. 

10. It is unlucky to turn a loaf over in the oven. — 


11. It is unlucky to leave a candle to burn in the 

room by itself. — Notes and Quciics, ist Ser., vol. 
xii., p. 4S8. 

12. It is unlucky to have rooks build near your 

house. — Forby, p. 414. 

13. It is lucky to see the moon over the left shoulder. 

—Ihid., p. 415. 

Superstitions, Folk-Lorc, and Dialect. 303 

14. If you bring a few flowers into a house at a time 

there will be but few chickens there. — Notes 
and Queries, 4th Ser., vol. i., p. 550. 

15. Down corn, down horn. — W.R., 1866. 

16. If you swear, you will catch no fish. — Forby, 

p. 414. 

17. Fish are plentiful when fleas are plentiful. — 

Notes and Queries, 3rd Ser., vol. viii., p. 288. 

18. If snakes could hear and slows could see, 

Nor man nor beast would ever be free. 

Ibid., 4th Ser., vol. vii., p. 547. 

19. To cure hooping-cough, catch a house spider 

and tie it up in muslin and pin it over the 
mantelpiece, and when it dies the cough goes 
away. — Ibid., 2nd Ser., vol. i., p. 386. 

Quaint Sayings. 

The late Rev. E. Gillett, of Runcham (E.G.R.), 
had a most amusing collection of these, which he 
told me he intended publishing under the title of * A 
Latch of Links;' but his untimely death prevented 
this, and I do not know where his MS. is. 

A long collection of East Anglian proverbs, etc., 
will be found at pp. 427-435 of Forby. 

Those in the text marked 'W.R.' are, I think, new, 
and are from my personal observation. 

1. He has no more sense than a May gosling. — W.R. 

2. On and on like a pig in a harvest-field. — W.R. 

3. The kettle call the pot black-face. — W.R. 

4. At fifty years of age a man is either a fule or a 

doctor.— W.R. 

304 A Popular History 0/ Norfolk. 

5. The last of eleven stone of hemp. — W.R. 

6. He lies like a tooth-drawer. — W.R. 

7. Sunday saint and week-day devil. — W.R. 

8. As wooden as a pump. — W.R. 
g. As lame as a tree. — W.R. 

10. As old as Carlton Common. — W.R. 

11. As deep as Chelsea (Reach). — Notes and Queries, 

2nd Sen, vol. iii., p. 258. 

19. Tew eager, like Farmer Cubitt's calf as drotted 
tree moyles to suck a bull. — W.R. 

13. No more ear for music than Farmer Ball's bull, 

as dossed the fiddler over the bridge. — W.R. 

14. A man who has had four wives is said to have 

shod the horse all round. — Notes and Queries, 
4th Ser., vol. iv., p. 300. 

The Local Rhymes 

I have been able to collect, are neither numerous nor 

particularly amusing, viz. : 

1. Halvergate hares, Reedham rats, 
Southwood swine, and Cantley cats, 
Acle asses, Moulton mules ; 
Beighton bears, and Frecthorpe fools. 

Notes and Queries, ist Ser., vol. ii., p. 150. 

2. Blickling flats, Aylsham fliers, 
Marsham peewits, and Hevingham liars. 

E. S. Taylor, in Notes and Queries, 
ist Ser., vol. ii., p. 150. 

Superstitions, Folk- Lore ^ and Dialect. 305 

3c Gimmingham, Trimmingham, Knapton and 
Northrepps and Southrepps, all in a bunch. 

4» Cromei^ crabs^! -" 

Runton dabs ; 
Beeston babies, 
Sherringham ladies; 
Weybourne [Cley] witches [bitches] 
Salthouse ditches; 
Langham fairmaids, 
Blakeney bulldogs, \yaY. bovvheads] ; 
Morsta;dodmen,* ^r* a^ 'U ) 
Binham bulls. 

Stiff key trolls [yav. blues] ;t 
Wells bitefingers,! 
And the Blakeney people 
Stand on the steeple, 
And crack hazel-nuts 
With a five-farthing beetle. 
C. W. Barkeley, in 'Notes and Queries, 4th Ser., 
vol. iv., p. 331 ; as added to from my own 

5. Rising was, Lynn is, and Downham shall be. 
The greatest seaport of the three. 

J. N. Chadwick, in Notes and Queries, 
ist Ser., vol. iii., p. 2060 

"-■ Dodmen — snails, 
t Blues — mussels. 

X A Wells sailor is said to have bitten off a drowned man's 
finger to get his ring. 


3o6 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

6. Rising was a seaport town, 

And Lynn it was a waste ; 

But Lynn it is a seaport town. 

And Rising fares the worst. 

7. That nasty, stinking sink-hole of sin, 

Which the map of the county denominates Lynn. 


8. Caistor was a city ere (when ?) Norwich was none, 

And Norwich was built of Caistor stone. 

g. Denton in the Dale 

And Arborough in the Dirt, 

And if you go to Homersfield 

Your purse will get the squirt. 


10. 'Twixt Lopham Ford and Shimpling thorn 

England shall be won and lorn. 

Old Court-Book of Shimpling Manor. 

The Dialect* 
Of Norfolk has been exhaustively treated upon — per- 

* A long list of all authors on this dialect will be found in the 
Appendix to the ' Prompt. Parvulor.,' p. Ixxxii. The more im- 
portant works on the subject are Forby's * Vocabulary ' (2 vols., 
1830), with Supplementary Volume by the Rev. W. T. Spurdens 
(185S) ; * Promptorium Parvulorum ' (ed. by A. Way for the 
Camden Soc), and Gnatt's ' Etymological and Comparative 
Glossary' (compressed in his 'Guide to Yarmouth and Lowes- 
toft,' 1866) ; ' Sea Words and Phrases along the Suliblk Coast,' 
East Aui^lian, iii., p. 2)A7) ^nd iv., p. 109 ; ' A Capful of Sea 
Slang,' East Anglian, iv., p. 261 (these two articles were by 
the late Edward Fitzgerald; 'Additions to Forby,' by the 
Rev. F. Gillett, iv., pp. 128, 156; and 'Norfolk Words not in 
Forby,' by the Rev. G. J. Chester, ' Nor. Arch.,' v., p. iSS. 

Superstitions, Folk-Lore, and Dialect. 307 

haps too much so — by many writers, who have in- 
cluded in their vocabularies many words which are 
common to the whole of England. What will strike 
the stranger's ear as being most unusual in the fields 
will be *deke, holl,' or ' hull' {e.g., 'he hulled it into 
the holl;' i.e., threw it into the ditch), * pulk, dole- 
stone,' 'par -yard,' 'largess,' ' ligger,' * pightel,' 
* levenses and fourses,' * driftway,' and the right of 
' shackage.' Up the rivers and broads, as he is 
' quonted ' along in a wherry, he will notice a man on 
the 'rond' 'dydling.' In the evening he will probably 
see either the ' roke ' or an * eynd ' rise, and may 
hap to sail under a * perry wind,' or be upset by a 
' Roger's blast.' 

Indoors he may be sent to bed in either the * par- 
lour-chamber ' or the * kitchen-chamber,' the floor of 
which will be wiped up by a ' dwile.' The goodwife 
may be ' baffling and jaffling ' with a neighbour, and 
come in and tell you she thinks her very ' dis-im- 
proved,' as she is not ' jannock ' now, and is tolerably 
sure to give her children either ' coshies ' or 
' loggetts ' to quiet them if they make too much 
' dullor,' while she pours you out a glass of ale from 
a * gotch ' into a ' beaker,' and she ' froizes ' you a 
pancake. A Norfolk man will say to you, * Come to 
mine,' or tell you he had been to * his '—house being 
understood in each case. He will talk of a ' mawther ' 
who may or may not be his ' dafter,' and if he is 
speaking to two or three will call you 'together.' 
He cannot pronounce 'h' when it comes after 't,' so 
is compelled to say ' tew ' and * tree ' for two and 

20 — 2 

3o8 A Popular History of Norfolk. 

three, and ' trew ' for through ; while his vocative 
appellation for a man is ' bor,' and for a woman 'mor.' 
Lastly, I regret to say he always, and in the most 
unblushing way, says ' wulgar ' for vulgar. 

' That gate hang high ;' * but hinder none.' In- 
scription at Kimberly to Jno. Jenkyns, Mus. Doc: 
* Under this stone rare Jenkyns lie.' 

The following specimen of dialogue was given me 
the other day as being taken down from the mouth 
of an East Norfolk gardener. Emphasized as 

' As I was jumping t' hoU from Farmtx Z/^Vkettle's little 
//■g'htle inteu t' rhoed, she come up teu me and say : 
' " Can I get trew here ?" 

' " Iss," said I ; " but it is no mailtr of a rhoed." 
* " Whawt ?" said she. 
'" It's only a dri/iwzy like,'' sed I. 

* " Eh ?" sed she. 

* *' Nobbut a. pacAway,'^ sed I. 

* " Oh," said she ; " and which way deu I go ?" 
* " Yew go as the rhoed go, for tew or tree hundred yard till 
you come teu a/«ryard," sed I. 
' " Teu whawt ?" sed she,' etc., etc. 

Of dialect ballads we have few. There is an 
amusing one, telling how Giles Jolterhead, a joskin 
raw, took his * darter Dinah ' to the Norwich Festival, 
printed in 'E. A.,' ii., p. 67 ; and the Rev. E. Gillett 
translated the * Song of Solomon ' into Norfolk, for 
Prince Bonaparte, in his polyglot version of that 
poem. The most readable of all the dialect stories of 
*\ie present day are ' Giles's Trip to London,' and the 
rest of the series; these are very clever and deservedly 

Superstitions, Folk- Lore, and Dialect. 309 

popular, and have run to a great number of editions. 
The difficulty in getting the country people to let you 
take notes of their local words, or, indeed, to use 
them in your presence at all, is very great. There are, 
indeed, some more sensible than others, and among 
them is my old skipper, Tungate, who sails my old boat, 
called the Lotus. Here are some notes I have taken 
down from his mouth, and as he is about seventy- 
seven, and is pure-bred Norfolk, they may be 
depended on. Sickles, in Norfolk and Suffolk, used 
to be slightly toothed or ragged-edged — a sharpened 
sickle ought to be called a ' rape (reap) hook.' A 
' flagg ' is the top spit of a marshy meadow ; a * turf ' 
is cut down after the 'flagg' is skinned off. It is 
always 4 inches by 4 inches by 3 feet long. Six 
score go to the hundred. * My father used to cut 'em 
and lay 'em one hundred and twenty in thirteen 
minutes, but I got to do 'em in eleven minutes and a 

* Hay (have) you got the guy rope ?' 

* Undemain '= Underneath. 

Dingling about = Hanging or swinging about. 
'Then in her byes' = Then in her best. 
•I will stick-lick him'=I will beat him with a stick. 
' He drtv home ' = He drove home. 

Hakes = Hooks. 

Poyles = Piles. 

Moyles = Miles. 

Roding line = Roeing line. 

The gun was ' loaden.' 

Wretts = Warts. 

To lig = To lie (hence llgge>'^. 

Musharoom = Mushroom, 

lo A Popular History of Norfolk. 

' I cast him such a dab,' ' I punched him good tidily.' 
' I rew him ' = I rowed him. 

Ganging = Going. 
' We are not so pent for half-an-hour ' = Pressed. 
* We har tew hev ' = We ought to have. 

Jiffling = Fidgety. 






WMlMuCTliMCTlBre^: ^ jfe 









Aborigines, the, i 

' Absume and purfy,' 283 

Acle, 268 

Acoustic pottery, 197 

Advertising for clerical preferment by 

' setting bills upon Paul's door," 

Ale drinkings, 151 
Alen, ' the god of Northfolke," 288 
Antingham, two churches and ponds, 

Armada, preparations in Norfolk for 

resisting, 79 
Ascetic, the Champion, 177 n. 
Ash-Wednesday, folk-lore as to, 297 
Aulepimen, 107 
Aylmer, Bishop, escapes martyrdom 

by hiding in a wine-butt, 187 
Aylnierton, shrieking-pits, i, 227 
Aylsham, 226 

Bachelors, the comely, of Norwich, 

Bacton, otherwise Bromholm Abbey, 

Barn, the great, at Paston, 247 
Bamingham, 226 
Barsham, East, manor-house, 231 
Barton Broad, 265 
Bawbergh, St. Walstan of, 175 
Beacon towers, churches used as, 197 
Beccles River, 276 
Beccles, 278 
Beer, 263 
• Bees,' American: query derived from 

our Norfolk beeves, in 
Bill of fare, monastic, 168 

Bilney, the martyr, 187 
Binham Abbey, 230 
Biskele, St. Wandred of, 175 
' Black currant car, ' 262 
Blakeney, 228 

' Blanchflower,' a nickname of Nor- 
wich castle, 34 
Blankest verse on record, the, 252 
Blickling, 226 
Bondsmen in blood, 106 
Bonner, Bishop, was rector of East 

Dereham, 187 
Books, 130 
' Borough Hills,' 16 
Boom tower, the, 285 
Bosses on the roof of Norwich 

Cathedral, 197 
Bowls, saying of a Puritan chaplain 

as to, 134 
Bramerton Woods End, 285 
Brandon, 239 
Brasses, noticeable, 196 
Breydon Water, 274 
' Broads and Marshes," the, 256 
Bromholm, the Holy Rood of. 174 
Bromholm, otherwise Bacton, Abbey, 

Brundall Hall, 284 
Buckenham Ferry, 283 
Burgh Castle, 276 
Burgh St Peters, 277 
' Burgh ' and ' Borough ' Hills along 

coast, 228 
Burghers, fortified houses, 156 
Burnham and its oysters, 230 
Butcher's meat, a man who had never 

tasted, 109 



Caistcr Castle, a Roman work, 219 
Caister Castle, by Yarmouth, 242-3 
Calthorp, how Sir Philip, gave a shoe- 
maker a Issison in fashion, 144 
Candlemas-day, folk-lore as to, 294 
'Carriagc-and-four Ghosts,' 288 
Carrow Bridge, Abbey, and Works, 

Castle Acre, 233 
Castle Risinij, 255 
Castles and Castle building, 33 
Cenimagni, 2 
Chantries, growth of, superseded 

foundation of monasteries (?), 42 
Chest, fine church, at Dersingham, 

Chet, the, 283 
Chevage, 107 
Chivalry (?), 128 
Christmas, folk-lore as to, 298 
Church-breaking by a chaplain, 183 
' Church Rock," the, at Cromer, 250 
Churches, the overstock of, 43 
Churches, nearly all of flint, 191 

• City of Orchards," the, 208 
Civil War, 85 

Clere pedigree, early part of, fabri- 
cated, 31, 226 
Clergy, lawlessness of the early, 181 
Clergy, their early right to marry, 182 
Cley, 228 

' Clocher," the, at East Dereham, 232 
Coast roads, lost (?), 246 
Cockell=coquaille(?), 168 
' Cocking,' 133 

• Coke of Norfolk,' 253 
Coldham Hall, 284 
Coltishall, 223 
Cossey Park. 218 

Courtship and marriage, folk-lore as 

to, 292 
Cricket, 135 

Cringleford, St. Albert of, 176 
Cromer, 249 
Cromwell, his Norfolk descent on his 

mother's side, 91 
Crostwight, the Holy Rood of, 176 
Crown Point, 285 
' Cunning man," the, 288 

Danes, conjectured prc-Roman set- 
tlement of, 3 

Danes, the subsequent or Pirate, 19 

Danish surnames still in Norfolk, 20, 
elsewhere in England, 21 n. 

Death and omens, folk-lore as to, 291 

Decoys, 131 

Denmark, coincidences of place- 

names in, with place - names in 

Norfolk, 4 
Dereham, East, 232 
Devil, the, conjured into a boot, 178 
' Devil's ditch,' at Smallburgh, 16 
Dialect, the, 306 
' Dick Merryfellow,' his political 

squibs, etc., 104 
Dietary, 126-7 
Diss, 240; Mere at, 241 
Dissenters, 190 
Doors, noticeable, 195 
Doorways, noticeable, 194 
Druids, 2 
Drury, Captain, the ' only general ' on 

the kings side in Kctt's rebellion, 

64, 65, 66, 63 
Duels, 139 
' Duke's Palace," 73 
Dunmow Flitch, first won by a Nor- 
folk couple, 110 
Dussin's Dale, 58, 66 
Dutch and Walloon strangers settled 

in Norwich, 1565-75, their surnames 

now traceable, 78 

Easter, folk-lore as to, 297 

Easter Sepulchre at North Wold, 195 

' Eastern Association,' Norfolk's part 

in, 85 
Eccles, 244 
Elections, 95-105 
Elizabeth, Queen, her progress 

through Norwich, 70 
Elmhani, North, 232 
Elsing, Holy Spirit of, 175 

Fakenham, 231 

Fisherman's prayer, the, 290 

Flegg Hundreds, Danish (?) place- 
names in, 9 

Fleg;: Hundreds, 268 

Flint churches and round towers, 191 

Folk-lore, 291 

Fonts, noticeable, 195 

Forest-bed, the, 221 

Freeholders, great numl)er of small, 23 

' Freemen,' groat number of, in Nor- 
folk and Suffolk, 2i 

Friars, the life of, 170 

Fritton decoy, 276 

Funeral etiquette, 143 

Garinnonum, 276 

Gentlemen to Iw reduced in number 

to the number of white bulls, in 

Norfolk, 57 
Gentler life, the, 122 



Gentry, guilty of murders, 136 
Ghostly light at Runlon, 227 
Gimmingham, 248 

* Gladman's insurrection,' 56 
Good Friday, folk-lore as to, 297 

' Good Sword of Winfarlhing,' the, 

' Grey Lady of Rainham," 289 
'Grimes Graves,' i, 239 
Guilds, increased as foundation of 

monasteries ceased, 43 
Guilds, 146 ; good customers to the 

church, ib ; rules of, 147 
Gunpowder used to blow up a church, 

Gunton Park, 225 ; Hall burnt, 225 
Gargoyles, 197 

Happisburgh, 244-5 
Hardley Cross, 283 
Hare pedigree, early part of, fabri- 
cated, 31 
Harleston, rising of, 1570, 69 
Harvest-homes, 117 ; songs, iiS 
Hautbois, St. Tebbald of, 176 
Hedge, large hawthorn, 267 

* Hell Fire Club ' at Norwich, 190 
Hickling Broad, 268 

Hickling Priory, 243, 263 
Holkham, 253 

* Holy Rood of Bromholm,' 174 
Holy Spirit of Elsing, 175 
Horning, 262 

Horsey Mere, pike, 268 

Horstead, St. Margaret of, 176 ; our 

Lady of Pity of, 176 
Hospitality, 127 
Hospitals, 178 

Hoveton, St. Margaret of, 176 
Howard pedigree, early part of, 

fabricated, 29 
Hundred Stream, the, 266 
Hunstanton, 253 

Iceni, 2 

' Ingham ' and ' Ing:ton ' termina- 
tions, who brought in the, 11 

Ingham, 243 

' Inns,' private, 125 

Inns and inn signs, 160-1 

Inscriptions copied, 200 ; specimens 
of Norfolk, 200-4 

Irsiead, 265 

James L, his hunting, etc., atThet- 

ford, 94 
Jesuits, 187 

Jews, persecutions of, 46 ; as to St. 

William of Norwich, 46 ; at Lynn, 

47 ; at Norwich (Jurnepin), 48 ; 

caricature of, 51-2 
' Jews' Ways,' by Burnham and 

Burgh Castle, 16 
'John Amend-all,' 56 
' Johnny Raw,' in 1381, 52 
Jordan Fantosme's Chronicle quoted, 

Justice, sale of, 167 

Keels," 259 
Kelt's rebellion, 58-68; causes of, 

misconceived, 1596, 58 
Kett family, 60 11. 

' King John [of France]'s sword," 236 
Knapton Church roof, 247 
Knevet, Sir Anthony, refuses to rack 

Ann Askew, 187 
Knights, cheaply made by James I., 

Knights Hospitallers at Carbrooke,43 
Knights Templars at Haddiscoe. 43 
' Knight's fee,' estimate of 800 acres 

approximately correct, 23 

Lake-dwellings at Wretham Mere, i 
' Leeches,' want of skill of the old, 

Leper-houses, 178 
Libraries of the early clergy, 186 
Litester's rebellion, 52 
Litigation, love of, 113 
Local rhymes, 304 
Loddon, 241 

Ludham bridge, 265 ; Grange, 267 
Luxury shown by furniture, etc., 124 
Lynn, guilds, rules, etc., of, 147, et 

Lynn, 234 ; brasses, 235 ; King 

John's sword, 236 
Lynn, siege of, in 1643, 88 

Macaulay's description of the country 

parson vindicated, 184 
' Maid Ridibone,' 178 
' Maid's Head ' at Norwich, 160, 190 
Mannington Hall ghost story, 289 
Manor Rolls, curious entries in, 113- 

Marriage-making, prosaic, 129 
' Marrum Hills,' the, 243 
Martham, St. Blythe of, 176 
Martyrs, William Sautre of Lynn, 

the earliest English, iB6 
; ' Master John Schorne,' 178 



Mercenaries, Italian, employed to 

suppress Kelt's rebellion, 63 ; one 

hung, 63 
Merchant's narks, 158 
Merton Hall, 240 
Michaelmas goose long before the 

Armada, 168 
Middleton Tower, 234 
Monasteries, the growth of the, 37 ; 

built in groups by families (?), 39 ; 

relative number of different orders, 


Monastic account rolls, 164-5 
Monks and citizens, riot of, 1272, 52 
' Monks and the Friars," 164 
Monuments, noticeable, 196 
Monuments of North Erpingham, 
Tunstead, Happing, and Holt Hun- 
dreds copied, 200 
' Mount Surrey," 73. 
Mundesley. 248 
Mural paintings, noticeable, 195 

Nelson's birthplace, 253 

' New Cut,' the, 279 

Non-jurors, persecutions of, 188 

• Norfolk Miscellany," or ' Robin's 
Panegyrick," loi 

Norman Conquest, the, 23 

Norman landowners, analysis of the 
chief holdings by, 24 

Norman surnames still in Norfolk, 27 

Norman pedigrees, examples of ficti- 
tious, 28 

North Walsham, 224 

Norwich, description of, 205-18 ; 
castle, 207 ; cathedral, 213 ; 
museum, 220 

Nursing, paupers nursed at expense 
of parish, 117 

' O,' pittances called, 166 

Organs at Norwich Cathedral threat- 
ened to be pulled down by the 
"Prentices, 189 

Otters, once plentiful, 131 

Oulton Broad, 277 

Our Lady at Recpham, 175 

Our Lady of 'Walsingham, 172 ; 
image and relics, 172-3 

Overstrand, 249 

Oysters, Burnham, 230 

Palgrave quarterings fudged, 226 

' Palmer's Way,' 173 

Parish Church, Yarmouth, the largest 

in England, 191 
Parsons and their churches, the, 180 

Paston, 247 
Paston Letters, 243 
Pastons, often besieged in their 
houses, 138 ; possibly deserved it, 

Peasant life, the old, 106 
' Peddars Road,' 173 
' Peddar"s Way,' 17 
Pedigrees, examples of forgsd, 29 
Persecutions and risings, 46 
Pilgrimages, the chief, 177 
' Pilgrimage of Grace," followed by 

small local rising here in 1537, 57 
Pirates along Norfolk coasts, 84 
Pirates, the Yarmouth, 263 
Plantations, 219 
Poaching, early, 115 
Poor's box at Cawston, 197 
Porches, noticeable, 195 
Potter Heigham, 267 ; Falgate, 267 
Prayer, the fisherman's, 290 
Priest's hiding-hole, 187 
Printing, early, at Norwich, 77 
Prophecies, old, 287 
Proverbs, local, 303 
Punt-shooting, 275 
Puritans, 190 

' Rabbit and rye country,' the, 239 

Race meetings, 132-3 

Rainham ghost story, 289 

Ran worth Broad, 264 ; rood screen, ib. 

Reaches on the Norwich River, list of, 

Rebuses. 159 

Rector, highwayman, a, 183 
Red Mount Chapel at Lynn, 191 
Redman's conspiracy, 69 
Reedham, 279 
Reepham, our Lady at, 175 
Restoration, so called, of churches, 

' Robin"s Panegyrick, loi 
Roman settlements, 14 ; coins, 16 ; 

surnames (?), i8 ^ 
' Rond," the, 257 
Rood-screens, noticeable, 195 
Roof, noticeable, 195 
Rotten borough of Castle Rising, 102 
' Rough' element in early homes, 135 
' Run and ride " livings, 181 n. 
Runton, 253 
Rushford College, 240 

St Bennet's Abbey, 265 ; scheme for 

seizing, 55 
St. Faith's lair, scheme for rising at, 




St. George's guild at Norwich, 155 

St. John the Baptist's head at Trim- 
mingham, 175 

St. Leonard without Norwich, 175 

St. Mark's eve, folk-lore as to, 

St. Mathias's day, folk-lore as to, 

St. Olave's. 276 

St. Parnell of Stratton, 175 

St. Valentine's day, folk-lore as to, 

St. Walstan of Bawbergh, 175 

St. Wandred of Biskele, 175 

St. William in the Wood, 176 

St. Withberga's Well at East Dere- 
ham, 233 

St. Withburga, 176 

Sandringham, 254 

Sautre, William, of Lynn, the earliest 
English martyr, 187 

Saxon settlement, 18 

Sayings, quaint, 303 

Scala Cceli in St. Michael at Conis- 
ford, 176 

Scanring, 233 

Scole inn, 162 

Scottow, 223 

Sculpture, 197 

Sermon, how a, spoiled a goose 
worth two of it, 190 

' Servi,' few in Norfolk, 21 

'Seven marshland churches," the, 

Sewers often mistaken for subter- 
ranean passages, 123 

Sexton's wheel at Long Stratton, 197; 
and at Barningham (?), 197 

Shadwell Court (hideous), 240 

Sheffield, Lord, slain in Rett's re- 
bellion, 63 

Shepherds, a dinner to thirty master, 

Sherringham, 227 

Ship-money, 85 

Shipden, 250 

Shrieking-pits, i 

Shrines and Holy Wells, 17a 

"Shuck Dog,' 227, 289 

Sidestrand, 249 

Sitomagus, 239 

' Smock of St. Audrie," the, 178 

Snuff tower, the, 285 

Spencer, Bishop, ' the warlike,' 55 

Sporting anecdotes, 133-4 

' Squire Papers,' 87 

Stalls and piscinae, noticeable, 196 

Stratton, St. Parnell of, 175 

'Subterranean passages,' usually 

sewers, 123, 170 
Suffolk, countess of, curious escapade 

of, in 1442, 56 
Sun-dogs, 300 
• Superstitions, folk-lore, and dialect, 

Surlingham Broad, 284 
Swaffham, 238 ; the pedlar and the 

crock of gold, 239 
Swedish or Norwegian settlements 


' Taylor's Folly,' 285 

Terrington. St. Clement's, 238 

Thetford, 239 

Tobacco - smoking suppressed in 

1695, in Methwold, 116 
Tombland Fair, 210 
Town houses, 159 
Town life, the, 144 
Towns, the chief, 205 
Townshend pedigree, early part of, 

fabricated, 30 
Trades, curious, 157 
Trimmingham, 249 
' True news from Norwich," 188 
Trotting horses, 132 
Tumbler, a dog called, 116 
Tyler's (Wat) rebellion, Litester's 

rebellion a branch of, 52 

Viking's ship, 257 

' Villani,' few in Norfolk, 21 

Villeins, 107 

' Virgin troop of Norwich,' 88 

Walloon settlers at Norwich, 1565, 

75 ; their surnames now traceable, 

Walpole, Sir Robert, loo-i 
Walpole St. Peter, 238 
Walsingham Priory, 230 
' Walsingham Way,' 173 ; our Lady 

of, 172 
Walsoken, 237 
Walton, W., 238 
Wash, the, 237 
' Watering - places and coast - line, 

Waveney, the, 277 
Wayside crosses, 178 
Weather, folk-lore as to, 299 
Wells, 229 
Welsh, ran away at Kelt's rebellion, 

Westacre, Sir Thomas of, 176 
West Wick, 223 



Weyboume, 227-8 

Weybourne Pits, i 

Wherries, the, 257 

Wherrymen's tales, 260 

Whitlingham, 285 

•Whole" and ' Half ' sisters of Nor- 
man's hospital, 179 

Wiggenhall St. Germains, 238 

Wiggenhall St. Magdalen, 238 

' VVilby warning," the, 300 

Windham, William. 134 

Wines, mediaeval, 126 

WinfarthiDs, the 'good sword* of, 

J Winterton, 243 
VVolterton, 226 

Women whipped in 1634, 116 
Wool trade, said to be introduced 

into Norfolk in 1336, 75 
Worstead, 222 
Wretham Mere, i 
Wroxham, 222, 260 ; broad, 262 

Yachts, 258 

Yarmouth, 269 ; policemen at, carry 

walking-sticks. 274 
Yarmouth Church, the largest parish 

church in England. 191 

Elliot Stock, Printer, Patemoittr Rtw, L»nttM. 



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